Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY: January 18-25, 2011 

Today (Tuesday, January 18) marks the first day in the eight day Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  During this week, daily scripture references, meditation and prayer will be offered for readers’ reflection.  (Material provided courtesy of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, Garrison, New York.)

Chosen Theme: One in the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer(cf. Acts 2:42)

The theme for the annual celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011 has been announced by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. The theme for the 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is One in the Apostles’ Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and Prayer. It comes from Acts Chapter 2 versus 42. For 2011, the churches in Jerusalem were the initial consultants to the Joint Working Group for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Christians of Jerusalem call upon their brothers and sisters to make this week of prayer an occasion of renewed commitment to work for genuine ecumenism grounded in the experience of the early Church.

Day 1, They devoted themselves…
Scripture
 

Joel 2:21-22, 28-29, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.

Psalm 46, God is in the midst of the city.

Acts 2:1-12, When the day of Pentecost had come.

John 14:15-21, This is the spirit of truth.

Meditation
The journey of this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.” The “they” is the earliest Church born on the day of the Pentecost. All who live in continuity with the day of Pentecost live in continuity with the earliest Church of Jerusalem with its leader St. James. This church provides the image or icon of the Christian unity for which we pray this week.

According to an ancient eastern tradition, the succession of the church comes through continuity with the first Christian community of Jerusalem. It is linked with the heavenly Church of Jerusalem, which in turn becomes the icon of all Christian churches. The sign of continuity for all the churches is maintaining the “marks” of the first Christian community through our devotion to the “apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers.”

The present Church of Jerusalem lives in continuity with the apostolic Church of Jerusalem. Its witness to the gospel and its struggles against inequality and injustice remind us that prayer for Christian unity is inseparable from prayer for peace and justice.

Prayer
Almighty and Merciful God, with great power you gathered together the first Christians in the city of Jerusalem. Grant that, like this first church in Jerusalem, we may come together to be bold in preaching and living the good news of reconciliation and peace wherever there is inequality and injustice. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who liberates us from the bondage of sin and death. Amen.

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