Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

"They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’ " (Mark 7: 31-37)

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity starts today. I'm going to be posting the daily scripture
and prayer guide from the Graymoor Ecumenical Institute for our virtual prayer benefit. More resources for the Week can be found at Graymoor, where Week of Prayer started, at the World Council of Churches, and from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Vatican. And, if you're in the area, you can still come for the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Council of Churches on Saturday and hear your faithful blogger make some remarks about an ecumenical dialogue on theological anthropology, or to the area's Ecumenical Prayer service, with Cardinal O'Malley, Rev. Dianne Kessler, and Metropolitan Methodius on Wednesday, January 24th, at St. John Chrysostom in West Roxbury at 7:30 pm. Day 1, In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1-5).

Genesis 1:2 -2: 4, By his word, God created the universe.
Psalm 104:1-9, The Lord of all creation.
Revelations 21:1-5a, God makes all things new.
John 1:1-5, In the beginning was the Word.

In the beginning was the Word…on this first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we want to contemplate the work of the Creator. In the silence of the void – the book of Genesis recounts – God created the world through his Word. “And God said…” In the very beginning, when there was nothing but chaos and confusion, the Word of God came to break through the silence to assign to each being its proper place. At the summit of creation it is one humanity which God creates, in the image of his oneness. The group which inspired this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes from South Africa. Its members have recounted how much the HIV/AIDS epidemic can throw human lives into distress. Often, we also have the impression that our world is in chaos: when the elements engulf us, when war plunges us into terror, when sickness or grief overcomes us. “And God said...” Confronted with so much suffering, all Christians want to believe that the work of the Creator continues. Despite their divisions, it is the same hope which fills the hearts of all Christ’s disciples: the Word of God continues to create today’s world by snatching it back from the void, in keeping humanity united. The chaos in which we live can be paralysing. However, the men and women of our world do not want to resign themselves to despair. Thus in South Africa a group of women (Kopanang) who have a family member infected with HIV, come together to weave magnificent cloth. Their creations allow them to provide for their families. Created in the image of God, we too – in our own way – can bring beauty out of chaos.

God our Creator, we gaze at the splendor of your creation. It is your Word which created the universe. When our lives fall into ruin, we beg you to renew your marvelous works. Despite the scandal of our divisions, we can pray with one voice: that your Word never ceases to make all things new in the heart of our broken lives. Give us courage to be artisans of creation too. We pray that the unity we seek for our churches may be truly at the service of the unity of the whole human family. Amen.

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