Week of prayer for unity in Christ
Moving beyond rivalries and breaking barriers is being Christian.
As we enter into the week of praying together it is an opportunity for Indian leaders to break new grounds and let the Spirit blow fresh air into our communitarian lives.
As the Parishes across the country are initiating the unity week we must broaden the concept and reorganize the practices.
“Unity in Christ” may capture the spirit better than unity of Christians and unity of Churches. In our country there are millions of people of other faiths who are devoted to Christ and follow the teachings of Christ in their way of life.
“This week is an opportunity to draw larger circles and feel wider fellowship for strengthening our spiritual life” said Bro. Mani Mekkunnel, the National Secretary of the Conference of Religious India.
This year the Christians in Poland have prepared the material for the 2012 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the theme, “We will all be changed by the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (based on 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).
It includes a worship service, reflections/prayers for the eight days of the Week, and additional worship resources
We realize that, in contrast to human rivalries, “there is room for everyone in God’s plan of salvation.” Reflecting on the transformative power of faith in Jesus Christ, we are enabled to move beyond triumphalistic approaches and rivalries and become people who seek to live together.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity an oldest ecumenical event is observed every year in January 18-25 when Christians are encouraged to pray together that their unity will become complete and visible.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity originated with an Episcopalian who became a Catholic in 1908, in Graymoor, New York.
The origin of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is closely linked with the Second Vatican Council. It was Pope John XXIII’s desire that the involvement of the Catholic Church in the contemporary ecumenical movement be one of the Council’s chief concerns.
World Council of Churches general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, preaching at a Geneva, Switzerland, observance of the Week of Prayer 2011, said that the New Testament portrayal of the Jerusalem church “describes the original oneness of those early believers in Jesus. Being one means being together, breaking bread, praising God, but also giving and sharing, according to who is in need.”
He described the image of sharing around the table as a striking image that “gives great spiritual energy” to ecumenical endeavours. But, Tveit said, sadly today “we as Christians do not yet eat together.” Nonetheless, Christians in Jerusalem can help us all through their demonstration of action together for justice and peace.
“What would the ecumenical movement become without the personal and communal prayer that ‘they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you’? (John 17:21) Where would we find the extra impetus of faith, hope and charity, of which our search for unity has a special need today?
Our desire for unity must not be limited to isolated occasions; it must become an integral part of our whole prayer life. . . The ship of ecumenism would never have been put to sea had it not been lifted by this broad current of prayer and wafted by the breath of the Holy Spirit.” Pope Benedict XVI.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began as a local observance and its celebration depends upon local circumstances. The local setting is where unity is built through
collaboration and through mutual recognition and respect for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. The occasion of local cooperation to pray together during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity sometimes encourages churches and their members to do things together at other times.
In an effort to encourage this local ecumenism throughout the year, the Graymoor Institute has provided a list of other occasions when activity might occur, together with suggestions. Some of these occasions lend themselves to interfaith activity.
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