Today (Monday, January 24) marks the seventh day in the eight day Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. During this week, daily scripture references, meditations and prayers are offered for readers’ reflection. (Material provided courtesy of the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute).
Day 7, The apostles’ teaching… wonders and signs… praising God.
Isaiah 60:1-3,18-22, You shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates, Praise.
Psalm 118:1, 5-17, I shall not die, but I shall live.
Romans 6:3-11, We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death… so we too might walk in newness of life.
Matthew 28:1-10, Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.”
The first Christians’ devotion to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread and the prayers was made possible, above all, by the living power of the Risen Jesus. This power is still living and today’s Christians witness to this. The light and hope of the Resurrection changes everything. As Isaiah prophesies, it is the transformation of darkness into light; it is an enlightening for all peoples. The power of the Resurrection shines out from Jerusalem, the place of the Lord’s Passion, and draws all nations to its brightness. This is a new life, in which violence is put aside, and security is found in salvation and praise.
In the Psalm we are given words to celebrate the central Christian experience of passing from death to life. This is the abiding sign of God’s steadfast love. It is the defining reality of all Christians. As St. Paul teaches, we have in baptism entered into the tomb with Christ, and been raised with him. We have died with Christ, and live to share his risen life. And so we can see the world differently — with compassion, patience, love and hope. Even as divided Christians, we know that the baptism that unites us is a bearing of the Cross in the light of the Resurrection.
For the Christian this resurrection life is not some mere concept or helpful idea. It is rooted in a vivid event in time and space. From Jerusalem the Risen Lord sends greetings to his disciples across the ages, calling us to follow him without fear. He goes ahead of us.
God, you raised your Son Jesus to give hope for humanity and renewal to the earth. Continue to strengthen and unify your Church in its struggles that obscure the hope of the new life you offer. This we pray in the name of the Risen Lord, in the power of his Spirit. Amen.