Unity of Christian: Dream or Desire or Demand?
Dear brothers and sisters,
This week we begin the “Prayer for Unity of Christians” (Jan. 18-24). Why is it this week? It ends with the feast of Conversion of St. Paul.
The 2017 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary year of the beginnings of the Reformation, the theme: "Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us" (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) has been chosen. The material for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has two accents: reflection upon the main concerns of the churches marked by Martin Luther's Reformation and, secondly, recognizing the pain of the subsequent deep divisions which afflicted the unity of the Church. In selecting this theme, it is viewed as an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation.
The Church Unity Octave was first observed in January, 1908. Celebrated in the chapel of a small Atonement Franciscan Convent of the Protestant Episcopal Church, on a remote hillside fifty miles from New York City, this new prayer movement caught the imagination of others beyond the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement to become an energetic movement that gradually blossomed into a worldwide observance involving many nations and millions of people.
"God was reconciling the world (kosmos) to God's self in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation" (v.19). As a result of God´s action, those who have been reconciled in Christ are called in turn to proclaim this reconciliation in word and deed: "The love of Christ compels us."
Therefore, before uniting the churches, the people in a church need to be united and be reconciled with one another. Please pray the Gospel of John, Chapter 17, every day from January 18-24, and pray for Christian unity; and be reconciled with one another, especially, if you have someone in your life with a hurtful relationship.
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