Christian Unity Week: January 15- 25, 2013
Christian Discipleship: Walking the Path of Righteousness
Day 1: Walking in conversation. We reflect on the importance of the practices of dialogue and conversation, as a means of overcoming barriers. Both in ecumenism, and in the struggles for liberation of people across the globe, the skills of speaking and listening are recognized as essential. In such authentic conversation we can come to recognize Christ more clearly.
Day 2: Walking with the broken body of Christ. Recognizing the solidarity between Christ crucified, and the “broken peoples” of the world, especially those who are abandoned and outcastes in our society, we seek as Christians together to learn to be more deeply a part of this solidarity ourselves. In particular, the relation of Eucharist and justice is opened up, and Christians invited to discover practical ways of Eucharistic living in the world.
Day 3: Walking towards freedom. Today we are invited to celebrate the efforts of communities across our world that are oppressed, as they protest against all that enslaves human beings. Who are the “outcastes” in our societies? As Christians committed to greater unity, we learn that the removal of all that separates people from one another is an essential part of fullness of life, freedom in the Spirit.
Day 4: Walking as children of the earth. Awareness of our place in God's creation draws us together, as we realize our interdependence upon one another and the earth. Contemplating the urgent calls to environmental care, and to proper sharing and justice with regard to the fruits of the earth, Christians are called into lives of active witness, in the spirit of the year of Jubilee.
Day 5: Walking as the friends of Jesus. Today we reflect on the biblical images of human friendship and love as models for God's love for every human being. Understanding ourselves as beloved friends of God has consequences for relationships within the community of Jesus. Within the Church, all barriers of exclusion are inconsistent within a community in which all are equally the beloved friends of Jesus.
Day 6: Walking beyond barriers. Walking with God means walking beyond barriers that divide and damage the children of God. The biblical readings on this day look at various ways in which human barriers are overcome, culminating in St Paul's teaching that “As many of you were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Day 7: Walking in solidarity. To walk humbly with God means walking in solidarity with all who struggle for justice and peace. Walking in solidarity has implications not just for individual believers, but for the very nature and mission of the whole Christian community. The Church is called and empowered to share the suffering of all by advocacy and care for the poor, the needy and the marginalized. Such is implicit in our prayer for Christian unity this week.
Day 8: Walking in celebration. The biblical texts on this day speak about celebration, not in the sense of celebrating a successful completion, but celebration as a sign of hope in God and in God's justice. Similarly, the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is our sign of hope that our unity will be achieved according to God's time and God's means.