Sunday, January 20
The Lord’s Day
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Minute for Mission: Race Relations
In 1983 I lived in Schneppenhausen, Germany, a village outside of Darmstadt that then had a large U.S. military post. We lived on the eighth floor of a large high-rise housing other military families, Turks, Germans, and Yugoslavians. Our son Jay was two years old. Each day the children from our building gathered on the playground. We watched in amazement at the freedom in which they interacted. They did not speak each other’s languages. Nor were they familiar with one another’s culture. However, they were playmates. These children played together and found ways to communicate and become friends.
Each time I think about how people in both the church and the world struggle to connect with one another and how issues big and small lead us to devalue one another, my mind goes back to Schneppenhausen and the children at play. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me . . . for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Matt. 19:14). He also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39).
Let us continue to grow in our ability to love others as we love ourselves. The first step is to greet the world as a child, to embrace difference with curiosity and assume that diversity is one of the things that makes life more interesting. The second step is to begin a dialogue with those who are different from us. Intentional learning communities provide one medium for such dialogue. Consider beginning one in your area. Bring people together regularly for meals, entertainment, worship, and joint mission. Talk, talk, and talk; dialogue, interaction, and acceptance is the key.
—Rev. SanDawna Gaulman Ashley, former associate for gender and racial justice, Racial Ethnic & Women’s Ministries/Presbyterian Women, and current associate of leader development, office of Vocation, Office of the General Assembly
Let us pray
God of all peoples and cultures, we give you thanks for the world you have created and called good. May we align our wills with yours and be able to see others through the eyes of Christ. In our time, let us experience the reality of equality, peace, and joy as we live together as sisters and brothers in the faith. In the name of Jesus Christ, through whom you have reconciled the world to yourself. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
PH 446, HB 434
Thy Mercy and Thy Truth, O Lord
PH 186, HB 82
1 Cor. 12:1–11
Come, Holy Spirit, Our Souls Inspire
PH 125, HB 237
Down to Earth, as a Dove