Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day Eight

Today is the feast of St. Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, and the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I’ll begin with the text of the Hymn of International Ecumenical Fellowship (author unknown). You can find the music with the rest of the WCC resources for this week.

Come to us now, Lord, reign in our hearts,
Be for us now and always our guide.
Bring us together, may we be one.
Bind us together as the people of God.
Lord, be for us the truth and the way,
fulfill the Father’s plan and make us one!
Come, be our life and give us your peace,
May we be one in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
Amen.

Day Eight: United in the Reign of Christ

To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne (Rev 3:21)

– I Chr 29:10-13 It is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all
– Ps 21:1-7 You set a crown of fine gold on his head
– Rev 3:19b-22 To the one who conquers I will give a place with Me on My throne
– Jn 12:23-26 Whoever serves me, the Father will honour

Jesus Christ is the first born from the dead. He has humbled Himself and been exalted. Christ is not covetous of His victory, but shares His reign and exaltation with all people. David’s hymn, born of the joy of the king and the people before the Temple was built, expresses the truth that everything happens by grace. Even an earthly monarch can be an image of the reign of God, in whose hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

The king’s psalm of thanksgiving continues this idea. Christian tradition also gives it a Messianic sense; Christ is the true King, full of blessing and life, the perfect presence of God among people. In a certain sense this image can also refer to people. Are not human beings the crowning achievement of creation? Does not God want us to become ‘co-heirs with His Son’ and ‘members of His royal household’?

The letters in the Book of Revelation to the seven local churches constitute a message to the Church in all times and places. Those who admit Christ into their homes will all be invited to share with him in the banquet of eternal life. The promise regarding sitting on thrones, previously announced to the Twelve, is now extended to all who are victorious.

Where I am, there will my servant be also. We can link Jesus’ I am to the unutterable Name of God. The servant of Jesus, whom the Father honours, will be where his Lord is, who has sat on the right hand of the Father in order to reign.

Christians are aware that unity among them, even if requiring human effort, is above all a gift of God. It is a share in Christ’s victory over sin, death and the evil which causes division. Our participation in Christ’s victory reaches its fullness in heaven. Our common witness to the Gospel should show the world a God who not limit or overpower us. We should announce in a way that is credible, to the people of our day and age, that Christ’s victory overcomes all that keeps us from sharing fullness of life with Him and with each other.

Prayer

Almighty God, Ruler of All, teach us to contemplate the mystery of Your glory. Grant that we may accept Your gifts with humility and respect each person´s dignity. May Your Holy Spirit strengthen us for the spiritual battles which lie ahead, so that united in Christ we may reign with Him in glory. Grant this through Him who humbled Himself and was exalted, who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

Questions for reflection

1. In what ways do false humility and a desire for earthly glory manifest themselves in our
lives?

2. How do we express together our faith in the Reign of Christ?

3. How do we live out our hope in the coming Kingdom of God?

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