Presentation on theme: "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011 2011. 2011Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25). Begun in 1908, these days have been set aside each."— Presentation transcript:
2011Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25). Begun in 1908, these days have been set aside each year so that Christians the world over may share the prayer of Jesus: “that all may be one... that the world may believe” (John 17:21). Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. He foresaw the difficulty of the mission he was entrusting to them. That is why he prayed for them.
What are the aims of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity? To pray as Christ prayed “That they may be one”. To pray for the unity of all Christian people as we share in Christ’s ministry. The Week of Prayer offers opportunities to meet and pray with fellow-Christians of different denominations in your locality. Often new local initiatives emerge out of such meeting and praying together.
‘In order to unite with one another, we must love one another; in order to love one another, we must know one another; in order to know one another, we must go and meet one another.’ These words, known as the "Testament of Cardinal Mercier," are an impetus for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The week (actually an octave, eight days) has been celebrated continuously since the early 20 th century.
All Things in Common The 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes to us from an ecumenical group in Jerusalem. The Christians of Jerusalem and indeed much of the Middle East are living under tremendous pressure and we are all too aware of the difficulties they experience both in terms of the political and religious situation and their dwindling numbers. However they are also communities of faith that worship, pray and study together, who work for the good of their society and pray for unity of the Church and the coming of the Kingdom of God. In 2011 they invite the world-wide Church to pray with them for the unity of the Church and justice and peace in the Holy Land and through the world. A View of Jerusalem
The theme for this year is based on the biblical text Acts 2:42-47 ‘ They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.’ (NRSV)
Four elements of unity This theme is a call back to the origins of the first church in Jerusalem; it is a call for inspiration and renewal, a return to the essentials of the faith; it is a call to remember the time when the church was still one. Within this theme four elements are presented which were marks of the early Christian community, and which are essential to the life of the Christian Community wherever it exists. 1. Firstly, the Word was passed on by the apostles. 2. Secondly, fellowship (koinonia) was an important mark of the early believers whenever they met together. 3. A third mark of the early Church was the celebration of the Eucharist (the ‘breaking of the bread’), remembering the New Covenant which Jesus has enacted in his suffering, death and resurrection. 4. The fourth aspect is the offering of constant prayer. These four elements are the pillars of the life of the church, and of its unity.
Litany of Christian Unity Leader: In Christ, the world is reconciled to God who entrusts to us the message of reconciliation. As the ambassadors of Christ’s reconciling work, we make our petitions to God. When we pray together from our diverse traditions, All: Holy One who makes us one, make our unity visible and bring healing to the world. L.eader: Wherever there is suffering through war and violence, injustice and inequality, disease and prejudice, poverty and hopelessness, drawing us near to the cross of Christ and to each other, All: Wounded One who makes us one, make our unity visible and bring healing to the world.
Leader: With Christians of the Holy Land, we too are witnesses to the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, his ministry in Galilee, his death and resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem; when we yearn for peace and justice for all in the sure and certain hope of your coming Kingdom, All: Triune One who makes us one, make our unity visible and bring healing to the world. Leader: When we work for justice and solidarity, when we move from fear to confidence, All: Strengthening One who makes us one, make our unity visible and bring healing to the world.
Prayers of Intercession R1: Let us pray for our local Christian communities, our churches and ecumenical groups; for those here present, and those who are absent from our assembly today. Lord, forgive us when we are indifferent to each other, and bring your healing to the wounds and divisions that keep us apart. R : Lord, hear our prayer R2 : Let us pray for a deeper appreciation of our common baptism into the one body of Christ. Lord, sustain each of us and our communities as we continue on the path towards the unity you desire for all your disciples. R : Lord, hear our prayer
R1: Let us pray for our spiritual leaders and church authorities, that the Spirit may continue to enlighten them and grant them the grace to work in harmony, joy and love. R Lord, hear our prayer R2: Let us pray for all civil authorities. Lord, grant that they may work towards justice and peace, and give them the wisdom to attend to the needs of all, especially the most vulnerable. R: Lord, hear our prayer
Prayer God of justice, there are places in this world overflowing with food, But others where there is not enough and where the hungry and the sick are many. God of peace, There are those in this world who profit from violence and war and others who because of war and violence are forced to leave their homes and become refugees. We remember especially to-day the people of war torn middle East. God of compassion, Help us to understand that we cannot live by money alone but that we can live by the word of God, Help us to understand that we cannot attain life and true prosperity except by loving God and obeying his will and his teaching. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Prayer Open our hearts, God, to your vision of peace, where our jealousies vanish because we are whole, and our pride falls away because we are healed. Open our hearts, God, to your vision of peace, and inspire our work as we make it real. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Concluding Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, you call us together in faith and love. Breathe again the new life of your Holy Spirit among us, that we may hear your Holy Word, pray in your name, seek unity among Christians and share more fully in your way of life. God of all nations, Lord of life, we thank you for the gift of life. We rejoice at your promise of Resurrection. We acknowledge your victory over death. Grant us the courage to challenge systems of death and misery Hear us, and help us as we search for abundant life, now and forever. Amen