Monday, January 19
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Minute for Mission
Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (John 4:7)
Today begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant Christians join in study, prayer, and action seeking the unity of the church. This year’s theme is drawn from the familiar encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well as recorded in John. It’s an encounter between two people who normally would have nothing to do with each other—people separated by social and religious boundaries. Jesus crosses the divide and asks the woman from Samaria for a drink of water. This opens the door to a deeper conversation in which differences are acknowledged, commonalities are considered, and evangelism explodes.
The quest for Christian unity often involves the risk of making ourselves vulnerable, recognizing that we are called to live an interdependent life of faith. We need the gifts of other Christians, and we also have particular gifts to share. We hear and feel God calling us to transcend our differences and encounter the presence of Christ in one another. This calling is not for our own sakes but so that the good and liberating news of Jesus Christ might be made known to the world.
The 221st General Assembly (2014) received the final report from the dialogue between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Historically, our two churches have not been in ecumenical relationship. We didn’t know a lot about each other. We probably had stereotypes. The dialogue invited representatives of our churches to listen to each other and work toward mutual understanding.
While acknowledging our differences, we were also able to celebrate each other as church and realize that we both are seeking to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. We drank from one another’s wells and realized that, individually and collectively, each could support the other in sharing the living water of Jesus the Christ with the world.
—Rev. Robina Marie Winbush, associate stated clerk for ecumenical relations, Office of the General Assembly
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Loving and liberating Jesus, grant us the humility to recognize you in others and to receive the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to communities and churches of whom we know very little. May all our encounters give witness to your transformative and liberating power. Amen.
We are celebrating the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" by sponsoring a concert at our church. We have personally invited all the other congregations in our county, and it has served as a springboard for ideas on how we might be able to celebrate our diversity even more next year.