The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity gives Christians an annual opportunity to continue their quest for the unity they already share in Christ. It is also a time to gather in praise of the Triune God and to deepen the understanding of the ecumenical movement. By joining in this annual celebration Christians raise their voices, hands and hearts to God seeking the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus, the Son of God, “that they all may be one.”
The Week of Prayer also invites those who participate to use it as an opportunity to examine the effectiveness of the ecumenical movement in seeking to end the divisions among Christians. From the smallest to the largest communities, from all cultures, races and language groups, from all the baptized to all those in ordained ministry, the Week of Prayer is also an opportunity to ask examine the level of support they have given to this important movement in the life of the Church. An accounting of each Christian’s discipleship and faithfulness to the proclamation of the Gospel—the good news of reconciliation—can be taken every year during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year, the week is observed from January 18 through January 25. We invite you to join in the daily prayers, scripture readings and reflections that will be posted on this site.
- Exodus 19:3-8, You shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.
- Psalm 95:1-7, We are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
- 1 Peter 2:9-10, Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people.
- Matthew 12:46-50, Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
Together, we who call upon the name of the Lord are called to be saints “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2). In Exodus, this gathering together of God’s people is described as a treasured possession, a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.
In 1 Peter, our membership in this communion of saints is understood to come as a result of God calling us together as a chosen race, a royal priesthood, God’s own people. With this calling comes a shared mandate to proclaim the mighty acts of God that drew us out of darkness and into God’s light.
Furthermore, we discover in Matthew that as a communion of saints, our oneness in Jesus is to extend beyond our family, clan, or class as together we pray for unity and seek to do the will of God.
Merciful God, together with all those who call on the name of the Lord, in our brokenness we hear your call to be saints. Yet you have made us a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. By the power of your Holy Spirit, draw us together in the communion of saints and strengthen us to do your will and to proclaim the mighty acts of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
What does the term “communion of saints” mean for you or for your church tradition?
In what ways does our calling to be a “holy nation” compel us to go beyond our local Christian setting?
(Source: Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute)