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’s theme is, “Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord”. During this week, we will post daily scripture selections, meditations and questions for your reflections. We invite you to enter into dialogue with other readers by posting comments and commenting on the thoughts that others post.
Day 1, Let the stone be rolled away
- Ezekiel 37:12-14, I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people.
- Psalm 71:18b-23, Your power and your righteousness, O God, reach the high heavens.
- Romans 8:15-21, We suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
- Matthew 28:1-10, He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.
In our world today there is much grief and pain; wounds inflicted which are difficult to forgive. All of this is like the large stone which covered the mouth of Jesus’ tomb. Wounds such as these imprison us in a spiritual grave.
But if, in our suffering, our pain is united to his pain, then the story does not end here, locked in our graves. The earthquake of the Lord’s resurrection is the earth-shaking event that opens our graves and frees us from the pain and bitterness that hold us in isolation from one another. This is the mighty act of the Lord: his love, which shakes the earth, which rolls away the stones, which frees us, and calls us out into the morning of a new day. Here, at this new dawn we are re-united with our brothers and sisters who have been imprisoned and hurting too. And like Mary Magdalene we must “go quickly” from this great moment of joy to tell others what the Lord has done.
Lord Jesus, you have always loved us from the beginning, and you have shown the depth of your love in dying for us on the cross and thereby sharing our sufferings and wounds. At this moment, we lay all the obstacles that separate us from your love at the foot of your cross. Roll back the stones which imprison us. Awaken us to your resurrection morning. There may we meet the brothers and sisters from whom we are separated. Amen.
- What are the events and the situations of our lives and the circumstances that make us lock ourselves in the grave—in sadness, grief, worries, anxiety and despair?
- What keeps us from accepting the promise and joy of the resurrection of Christ?
- How ready are we to share the experience of God with those whom we meet?