Let us Pray for Christian Unity
Day 4 - Trust: Do not be afraid, believe
“For the last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we will have to run aground on some island.”
In the midst of the tempest Paul’s encouragement and hope contradicted the fear and despair of his fellow travellers. Our common call to be disciples of Jesus Christ entails being a sign of contradiction. In a world riven with anxieties, we are called to stand as witnesses to hope by placing our trust in God’s loving providence. Christian experience shows us that God writes straight on crooked lines, and we know, against all odds, we will not drown or be lost. Because God’s steadfast love endures for ever.
Day 3 - Hope: Paul’s message
“I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship… none of you will lose a hair from your heads…”
As Christians belonging to churches and traditions that are not fully reconciled to one another, we are often discouraged by the lack of progress towards visible unity. Indeed, some have given up all hope and see this unity as an unattainable ideal. Others do noteven see unity as a necessary part of their Christian faith. As we pray for this gift of visible unity, let us do so with steadfast faith, enduring patience and expectant hope, trusting in God’s loving providence. Unity is the Lord’s prayer for the Church and he is accompanying us on this journey. We will not be lost.
Day 2 - Enlightenment: Seeking and showing forth Christ’s light
Christ is our light and our guide. Without the light and guidance of Christ, we become disorientated. When Christians lose sight of Christ, they grow fearfuland divided from one another. Moreover many people of good will outside the Church are unable to see the light of Christ because in our Christian division we reflect Christ’s light less clearly or, at times, block it out completely. As we seek the light of Christ, we are drawn closer to one another, and so mirror this light more clearly, becoming truly a sign of Christ, the light of the world.
Day 1 - Reconciliation: Throwing the cargo overboard
Acts 27:18-19, 21
“We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard… Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul thenstood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss’.”
As Christians from different Churches and Traditions, we have unfortunately, over the centuries, accumulated abundantbaggage consisting of mutual distrust, bitterness and suspicion. We thank the Lord for the birth and the growth of the ecumenical movement over the past century. Our encounter with Christians from other traditions and our common prayer forChristian unity encourage us to seek mutual forgiveness, reconciliation and acceptance. We must not allow the baggage of our past to hinder us from drawing closer to one another. It is the Lord’s will that we let go, in order to let God!