JC exam Section 5 Short essay type question
Communal prayer and worship demonstrate a community’s beliefs and values.
Discuss this statement in relation to one community of faith.
Sample answer 1
In the Roman Catholic community of faith communal prayer and worship involves a gathering of the faith community to give honour to God. People participate in a variety of activities and rituals to express their Catholic faith. One occasion for worship is mass on Sunday. The prayer is led by the priest but the people participate in the responses and the communal prayers such as the Gloria, Gospel Acclamation, Prayers of the Faithful and the Our Father. The words of the Lord’s prayer, which is said as a communal prayer, express belief in God whose name is revered as sacred, who is bringing about his kingdom on earth. It also shows that Catholics depend on God “give us this day our daily bread…” and that God is a forgiving God and therefore we should forgive one another “forgive us our trespasses…”. We also ask God to God who longs for our happiness and salvation. We also pray the Lamb of God, the words of which show our belief that Jesus was sacrificed for our sins to take away the sins of the world. We use the word “mercy” because we believe God is merciful and desires our peace. We offer prayers of the faithful as intercessions for the world, the Church the living and the dead, and private intentions. We reply “Lord Graciously Hear Us” to ask God to hear our prayer and bless all with His loving grace. We often respond “Amen” to the prayers to show that we all agree with the sentiment of the prayer.
As well as these communal prayers we also use many rituals when we worship to show our belief. We use holy water to make the sign of the cross as we enter the church. This shows our belief in the Blessed Trinity, that there are three persons in One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We genuflect when we enter our seats in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. The sanctuary lamp reminds us that Jesus is present in the Eucharist so we show honour and respect by this gesture. We stand to proclaim the Gospel and respond “Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ” at the end to show our praise and honour for God and God’s Word which we try to live by in our daily lives. We make a gesture offering a sign of peace as part of our worship. This represents our belief in the value of peace and the importance of building peace in our communities and families. When we receive Holy Community we hold up our palms to receive Jesus with reverence, and we bless ourselves to show our belief again in the Trinity.
We also use communal prayer during the other sacraments, such as Confirmation and Marriage and at funerals we recite the Rosary to show our belief in Mary the Mother of God. This shows that we value community and unity among believers. It helps people to see that others also belong to this faith tradition so it encourages us to go on believing. The rituals, like the mass itself, follow a set pattern and help us communicate our faith in the mystery of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and greatness.
Sample Answer 2
Communal prayer and worship are used in the church because we all say prayers when we go to mass and we say the same prayers every week. The whole idea is that we pray together. At mass we pray together like listening to the readings and going up for Holy Communion. You are not supposed to laugh or mess. You should be good and concentrate and say a prayer maybe for your family or something that you might be worrying about. Communal prayers are kind of important because you see that you’re not the only one who believes in God. I think Muslims also have communal prayer but they have no seats in their mosque, they pray on the floor. They also take off their shoes when they into the mosque as a sign of respect. I think sometimes mass is boring because the priest keeps saying all these prayers and there’s hardly any young people there so I don’t know why I have to go. My mum is religious. She has holy medals at home and a statue of Mary. She’d go mad is I didn’t go to mass. She said you have to say your prayers or you’re not a Catholic and God would punish you by making bad things happen and there’s no point in blaming God then because it’s your own fault for not going to mass. I don’t think Catholics worship. Protestants go to worship instead of mass but they don’t have to go every week.
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Where are the objectives referred to in the answers?
Which answer is the better answer and why?
Note NCCA guidelines p56 (The Higher Level student will be expected to…)