At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Traditionally the week of prayer is celebrated between Jan. 18-25, between the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. In the southern hemisphere, where January is a vacation time, churches often find other days to celebrate it, for example around Pentecost, which is also a symbolic date for unity.
Where are we unified? Big question.
I’ve been watching the Brexit coverage this week and feeling saddened once more at the lack of unity back home. Then sitting here in Canada, there is the news coverage on the US government shut down to make me shake my head in disbelief. I look at our own government’s broken promises and disagreements between provinces and wonder why we struggle to get along with our neighbours. The answer invariably is that it boils down to ego, money or both.
This week of prayer for Christian Unity we have no shortage of places to begin. The theme this year is “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20).
This year’s theme calls us to move from shared prayer to shared action. Where there is injustice there is division among people.
Over the past weeks Vancouver high school children have been protesting & lobbying our leaders to do something about climate change. Yesterday in Vancouver City Council a bill was passed unanimously to declare a climate crisis in response to the students, allowing the city to take more drastic measures to combat climate change and pollution in our city.
Where are the injustices in our community, our lives and the places where we live and can take action to influence change like these children did, and what are we called to do as Christian people today?
See you soon, Mother Lucy