January 18, 2024
“You shall love the Lord your God … and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
This day begins the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme: “You shall love the Lord your God … and your neighbor as yourself” from Luke 10:27 answers the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” How am I assured to have life with God beyond this life? Jesus’ simple (yet not so simple) answer was to say: Do what’s written in the law: Love God with all of who you are, and your neighbor like you love yourself, and you will live. I often wonder about the “as you love yourself” command. Does that mean that we don’t love ourselves because there are so many hurting and suffering people in the world? People to whom we do not show mercy and kindness?
This call to prayer for unity comes to us from the context of people in crisis, suffering from disunity and fear, from within and from outside forces.
Yet, the church finds itself in a position to work through it all to get to the love and peace that Jesus prayed for. The reflections admonished us to keep in mind Jesus’ new commandment to love one another. We must get to a place where we can act in love toward one another, those we know and those who cause us harm. Perhaps it is in an understanding of the harm that we get to live in peace and love with one another. Their story is not unique. We all struggle with how to love one another.
As we journey on as the ecumenical and interreligious community, we first relate to one another by what we have in common, our love for God and our humanity. Let us then dare to move to a place of deep conversation to address those systems and ideologies we have that separate us and that says to our neighbor, “you are not…”.
The Ecumenical Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international Christian ecumenical observance kept annually around Pentecost in the Southern Hemisphere and between January 18–25 in the Northern Hemisphere. The materials for the 2024 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity were prepared by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso facilitated by the local Chemin Neuf Community. Each year ecumenical partners in a different region are asked to prepare the materials. With roots going back over 100 years, the dedicated octave of prayers has been jointly commissioned and prepared since 1966, after the Second Vatican Council, by the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches.
Rev. Y. Dianna Wright, Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, Office of the General Assembly
Today’s Focus: Ecumenical Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Andrew Yeager-Buckley, Project Manager, Administrative Services Group, A (Corp)
Gina Yeager-Buckley, Coordinator, Youth & Triennium, Theology, Formation & Evangelism, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
Thank you for being a God of inclusiveness that reaches beyond our borders and brings people from every nation to you. Teach us to be accepting of all even if they don’t worship as we do. Amen.