Clergy Notes — Epiphany 3, January 21, 2024

This Sunday falls within the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which in recent years has had a fairly low profile around Vancouver, and I suspect more widely. The heady days of the ecumenical movement in the last century, when hopes of organic unity soon were high, have passed. But the spirit of ecumenism continues. Nationally, the Anglican Church of Canada has been active within the ecumenical movement. We are in full communion with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada since 2001 and at the national Assembly in 2023 Anglicans and Lutherans approved a full communion relationship with the Moravian Church. With other denominations the emphasis has been on what practical ministries, particularly of service, can the churches do together: for example, church leaders now often speak out together on matters of social justice.

While more could be done we should be thankful for significant progress made over the past 70 years: there was a time, to our shame, when Christians of different denomination did not feel able even to pray the Lord’s Prayer together. Much work has been done in theological dialogue, and co-operation in many spheres.

Nonetheless, Jesus’ prayer in St John 17 should encourage and challenge us still:

‘As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they [those who believe] also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’

And again in St John 13:

‘Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

Note Jesus’ emphasis on Christians being signs of unity and love to and for the world. At this time of increasing polarisation and hostility in so many places, and even here at home, let us pray that St. James’, and our neighbouring brothers and sisters in Christ, may indeed be signs of unity, love and hope for all, where we are.

With every blessing,
Fr Kevin

Download the Liturgy at Home booklet for Sunday, January 21, 2024.