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Sunday, December 11, 2016
Resources for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
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Churches Together in Britain and Ireland have a number of resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which can be found at: http://www.ctbi.org.uk/CGL/330
 
The eight days (taken from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity)
 
Flowing from the central text taken from Ezekiel, our reflection during the "eight days" of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity brings us to a deeper awareness of how the unity of the church is also for the sake of the renewal of human community. With this awareness comes a grave responsibility: that all those who confess Christ as Lord should seek to fulfil his prayer "that they may all be one so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17: 21).
 
Day 1: The eight days begin with a reflection on the unity of Christians. Contemplating our doctrinal divisions, and our scandalous history of separation - and sometimes even hatred - among Christians, we pray that the God who breathes the Spirit of life into dry bones, and who moulds in his hands our unity amidst diversity, will breathe life and reconciliation upon our dryness and division today. On this and each of the eight days, we are invited to pray for situations in our world where reconciliation is needed, especially attentive to the role that the unity of Christians will play in bringing about this reconciliation.
 
On Day 2 the churches will pray for an overcoming and end to war and violence. We pray that as disciples of the Prince of Peace, Christians in the midst of conflicts can bring about a reconciliation rooted in hope. Day 3 will offer a meditation on the great disparity between the rich and the poor. Our relationship to money, our attitude toward the poor, is a gauge of our discipleship in the following of Jesus, who came among us to set us free and to proclaim good news to the poor, liberty to slaves and justice for all.
 
The intention of Day 4 prays that Christians will realize that only together will they be able to protect the gifts that God gives us in creation, the air that we breathe, the earth that bears fruit and the creation that glorifies its maker. On Day 5 we pray for the cessation of prejudice and discrimination that mark our societies today. As we recognize that our dignity comes from God, our unity as Christians witnesses to the unity of the one who creates each of us as a unique being of God's love. The kingdom that we are called to build up is one of justice and love that respects difference because in Christ we are all one.
 
On Day 6 we remember in prayer all those who suffer and those who serve them. The psalms help us to see that language of crying out to God in pain or in anger can be an expression of a deep and faithful relationship with God. The merciful response of Christians to the plight of those who suffer is a sign of the kingdom. Together Christian churches can make a difference in helping to obtain for the sick the support they need, both material and spiritual.
 
Day 7 finds Christians confronted with pluralism praying for their unity in God. Without that unity it will be difficult to build a kingdom of peace with all men and women of good will. Our prayer intentions come full circle on Day 8 when we pray that the spirit of the Beatitudes will overcome the spirit of this world. Christians carry the hope that all things are being made new in a new order established by Christ. This enables Christians to be bearers of hope and artisans of reconciliation in the midst of wars, poverty, discrimination, and other contexts where human beings suffer and creation is groaning.

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