Has Christ Been Divided? Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Saturday was the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated between the feasts of St. Peter (Jan 18) and St. Paul (Jan 25). The theme for this year is

“Has Christ been divided?”
– 1 Cor:1-17

Both the Roman Catholic and the Revised Common lectionaries designate portions of this text (although not quite the same portions) as the second reading this weekend and next weekend. I think that’s particularly nice since that way, even churches who are not observing or aware of this week of prayer are in some way united in prayer to this effort.

—> Is your church community participating in this week of prayer? If so, please comment and tell us about it.

The prayer resources this year were prepared by Christians in Canada, and includes a reflection on how the particular circumstances of the church in Canada affect their experience of the theme. The materials are available both on the Vatican website and the WCC website, which has a link to the material as a PDF. There is also music that has been composed and made available for use during this week of prayer.

The intention is for this week to be celebrated and prayed as widely as possible, so the material includes an order of worship for ecumenical services, as well as resources that can be used as part of your church’s usual services; and communities and individuals are encouraged to adapt it as needed.

There are also scripture readings, reflections, and a theme for each of the eight days (the ‘week’ of prayer is really an octave). The themes are:

1/18: Together… we are called to be saints
1/19: Together… we give thanks for God’s grace in one another
1/20: Together… we are not lacking in any spiritual gifts
1/21: Together… we affirm that God is faithful
1/22: Together… we are called into fellowship
1/23: Together… we seek to be in agreement
1/24: Together… we belong to Christ
1/25: Together… we proclaim the gospel

Here is the prayer for Monday, 1/20:

Faithful, open-handed God, we bless you that you have given us all the spiritual gifts we need to come to the measure of the full stature of Christ : for wisdom, for
gifts of service and for bread. Help us to be signs of your abundance, gathered in unity to bring the gifts of your everlasting kingdom to every place of pain and lack.
Filled with the Spirit, we pray in the name of the One whose gift was the bread of his life broken for us, now and forever.
Amen.

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