Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014
18-25th January inclusive at 4.30pm.
The night before his Passion and Death, Jesus said:
“May they all be one,
year from 18-25th January, Christians of all denominations unite around
the world to pray for this great desire of the heart of
Jesus—that we may all be one. Here at Kilmacud Carmelite
Monastery we dedicate our Evening Prayer at 4.30pm for this intention
each day during the Week of Prayer. All are welcome to join us.
just as, Father,
you are in me and I am in you” Jn 17:21
QUICK LINKS: THEME & BIBLICAL
ECUMENISM IN CANADA
DAILY REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS
QUOTES AND PHOTOS FROM EACH DAY
THEME: Has Christ been Divided?
BIBLICAL TEXT FOR 2014: 1
called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ
Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and
peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been
given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in
speech and knowledge of every kind — just as the testimony of Christ has been
strengthened among you — so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as
you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen
you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus
Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among
you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For
it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you,
my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to
Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to
Christ.’ Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you
baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except
Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I
did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether
I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim
the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not
be emptied of its power.
Guest speakers at the Carmelite Monastery this week:
Sat 18th: Rev. Ian Gallagher, St Brigid's Church of Ireland, Stillorgan
Sun 19th: Dr Geraldine Smyth, Irish School of Ecumenics
Mon 20th: Reflection by a Sister
Tue 21st: Rev. Canon Robert Warren, Taney Parish, Church of Ireland, Dundrum
Wed 22nd: Reflection by a Sister
Thurs 23rd: Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion Parishes
Fri 24th: Reflection by a Sister
Sat 25th: Rev.Jameson Kunjukunju, Mar Thoma Syrian Church
ECUMENISM IN CANADA
This text is reproduced
under the sole authority and responsibility of the ecumenical group in Canada which
came together to write the source texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian
live in a country that is marked by diversity in language, culture, and even
climate, and we also embody diversity in our expressions of Christian faith.
Living with this diversity, but being faithful to Christ’s desire for the unity
of his disciples, has led us to a reflection on Paul’s provocative question in
1 Corinthians: “Has Christ been
Divided?” In faith we respond, “No!” yet our church communities continue to
embody scandalous divisions. 1 Corinthians also points us to a way in which we
can value and receive the gifts of others even now in the midst of our
divisions, and that is an encouragement to us in our work for unity.
Among the many factors that influence Canadian
religious experience is the sheer size of our country. Canada is the second largest country in the
world, 40% of which is in the Arctic, north of
60o latitude. Stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the United States to the North Pole, Canada has ten
provinces and three territories. The vast distances between our cities have
promoted both self-reliance and formation of distinct identities in the
regions, but can also engender feelings of alienation or resentment.
Canadian Christians worship in hundreds of languages
and dialects and preserve distinctive elements of their cultures within a rich
cultural and religious mosaic. Members of other religions have also settled in Canada,
including Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Baha'i. Canadian cities rank among
the most multicultural and multireligious in the world. Earlier government
policies promoting assimilation have been replaced by official multiculturalism
since the 1970s.
For over 150 years, some of the Christian
denominations of Canada
worked with the federal government to operate Indian Residential Schools, which
took aboriginal children to be taught and assimilated into European culture.
These schools, which sought to eradicate indigenous language and culture, were
often sites of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The largest churches in Canada – Roman
Catholic, United, Anglican, and Presbyterian – were complicit and have recently
apologized in a variety of ways. These churches now work closely together with
aboriginal people in the search for justice, healing, truth, and
Twenty-four denominations come together in the
Canadian Council of Churches (CCC), one of the broadest and most inclusive
church councils in the world, encompassing Anglican, Catholic, Reformed,
Evangelical, Free Church, and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox traditions.
One of the many innovative aspects of Canadian
ecumenism is the formation of more than fifty inter-church coalitions for
social justice beginning in the 1960s.
Differences within the Christian community have
continued to be factors inhibiting cooperation. Nevertheless, Christian
cooperation in inter-religious dialogue has increased in recent years and is
frequently undertaken collaboratively between churches. Has Christ been divided in Canada? It can certainly be
said that there are divisions among Christians in Canada. However, in the face of new
social issues some religious communities have begun to engage with their
neighbours in new and positive ways. Indeed, Canadian history has seen periods
of tension and rivalry, of life lived in ignorance and indifference to each other.
Through it all, we have learned to take into consideration the values of others
in order to live peaceably together. We continue to be divided by doctrine,
polity, and practice, and to maintain our own religious solitudes, yet our
pilgrimage towards unity continues under God’s guidance.
aspirations expressed in this prayer from the 1967 Canadian Centennial
celebrations still reflect the modern Canadian character:
us pray and live for a world where people of all nations will be united
in thought, word and deed; help us to be transparently honest, pure,
and loving in
our relations with others in our world and every world. Let us
pray for harmony and self-fulfilment for every soul in this nation and
every nation; help us to work and live
so that hunger, poverty, ignorance, and disease will disappear and thy kingdom will come indeed. Amen.”
Printable (pdf) version of these daily reflections
DAY 1: Sat 18th Jan: Together... we are called to be saints
Together, we who
call upon the name of the Lord are called to be saints
“sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:2). In Exodus, this
gathering together of God’s people is described as a treasured
possession, a priestly kingdom and a holy
nation. In 1 Peter, our membership in this communion of saints is
understood to come as a result of God calling us together as a chosen
race, a royal priesthood, God’s own people. With this calling
comes a shared mandate to proclaim the mighty acts of God that drew us
out of darkness and into God’s light. Furthermore, we discover in
Matthew that as a communion of saints, our oneness in Jesus is to
extend beyond our family, clan, or class as together we pray for unity
and seek to do the will of God.
together with all those who call on the name of the Lord, in our
brokenness we hear your call to be saints. Yet you have made us a
chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. By the power of your Holy Spirit, draw us
together in the communion of saints and strengthen us to do your will
and to proclaim the mighty acts of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen
DAY 2: Sun 19th Jan: Together... we give thanks for God’s grace in one another
Deuteronomy, is a way of living life with a deep awareness of
God’s presence within us and around us. It is the ability to
recognize God’s grace active and alive in one another and in all
people everywhere and to give God thanks. The joy that flows from this
grace is so great that it embraces even “the aliens who reside
among you”. Gratitude, in the ecumenical context, means being able to rejoice in
the gifts of God’s grace present in other Christian communities,
an attitude that opens the door to ecumenical sharing of gifts and to
learning from one another. All of life is a gift from God: from the
moment of creation to the moment God became flesh in the life and work
of Jesus, to this moment in which we are living. Let us thank God for
the gifts of grace and truth given in Jesus Christ, and
manifest in one another and our churches.
Most loving and
gracious God, we give thanks for the gifts of your grace that we
experience in our own tradition and in the traditions of other
churches. By the grace of your Holy Spirit, may our gratitude continue
to grow as we encounter one another and experience your gift of unity
in new ways. This we pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
DAY 3: Mon 20th Jan: Together... we are not lacking in any spiritual gifts
realizes that even though all has been taken away from him, the fear of
the Lord remains – that is wisdom. As brothers and sisters in
Christ, even though we are impoverished by our divisions, we have all
been graced with an abundance of diverse gifts, both spiritual and
material to build up his body. Yet, despite God’s promises and
Jesus’ generous life and love, we, like the disciples in Mark,
sometimes forget our true wealth: we divide, we hoard; we speak and act
as if we have “no bread”. Christ has not been divided:
together we have gifts enough to share with one another and “with
every living thing”.
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.
DAY 4: Tues 21st Jan: Together... we affirm that God is faithful
eternal unity of Father, Son and Spirit draws us closer into the love
of God, and calls us to participate in God’s work in the world
which is love, mercy and justice. Mercy and justice are not divided in
God, but rather are joined together in the steadfast love manifested in
God’s covenant with us and with all of creation. The new father Zechariah
testifies to God’s manifestation of mercy in keeping his promises
to Abraham and his descendents. God is faithful to his holy covenant.
As we continue to pray for the unity of the church, we must not neglect
to meet together and encourage one another, spurring each other on
towards love and good deeds, saying: “God is faithful.”
Faithful God, we
give thanks for your steadfast love and your devotedness that extends
to the clouds. As we wait in joyful hope, working and praying together
for the full visible unity of your church, fill us with confidence in your promises
. We make this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the power of
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
DAY 5: Wed 22nd Jan: Together... we are called into fellowship
are called into fellowship with God the Father and with his Son, Jesus
Christ and the Holy Spirit. As we draw closer to the Triune God, we are
drawn closer to one another in Christian unity. Christ has initiated a
change in our relationship, calling us friends instead of servants. In
response to this relationship of love, we are called out of
relationships of power and domination into friendship and love of one
another. Called by Jesus, we witness to the gospel both to those who
have not yet heard it and to those who have. This proclamation contains a call into fellowship with God, and establishes
fellowship among those who respond.
Father of love, you
have called us into the fellowship of your Son and appointed us to bear
fruit in our witness to the gospel. By the grace of your Spirit, enable
us to love one another and to dwell together in unity so that our joy
may be complete. Amen.
DAY 6: Thurs 23rd Jan: Together... we seek to be in agreement
disunity described in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 reflects a distortion of
the gospel, undermining the integrity of the message of Christ. To
acknowledge conflict and division, as Chloe’s people did, is the
first step to establishing unity. Women like Deborah and Chloe raise a
prophetic voice among God’s people in times of conflict and
division, confronting us with the need to be reconciled. Such prophetic
voices may enable people to gather in renewed unity for action. As we
strive to be united in the same mind and the same purpose, we are
called to seek the Lord and his peace as the psalmist wrote.
Loving God, you
give us prophetic witnesses in times of conflict and division. When we
seek you, Lord, send us your Holy Spirit to make us artisans of
reconciliation, united in the same mind and the same purpose. Through
Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.
DAY 7: Fri 24th Jan: Together... we belong to Christ
Isaiah envisioned a day when Egyptians and Assyrians would worship
together with Israel as God’s people. Christian unity belongs to
the design of God for the unity of all
humanity, and indeed of the cosmos itself. We pray for the day when we
will worship together in one faith and one Eucharistic fellowship. We
are blessed by the gifts of various church traditions. Recognising
those gifts in each other impels us towards visible unity. Our baptism
unites us as one body in Christ. While we value our particular
churches, Paul reminds us that all who call on the name of the Lord are
with us in Christ for we all belong to the one body. There is no other
to whom we can say, “I have no need of you” (1 Cor 12:21).
We give you thanks,
O God, that you bless each and every member of the body of Christ with
the gifts of your Spirit. Help us to be supportive of one another, to
be respectful of our differences, and to work for the unity of all
throughout the world who call upon Jesus as Lord. Amen.
DAY 8: Sat 25th Jan: Together... we proclaim the gospel
we proclaim anew the good news prophesied in Isaiah, fulfilled in our
Lord Jesus, preached by the Apostle Paul, and received by the Church.
Facing honestly the differences we have and the labels of denomination we embrace, we must
never lose sight of the common mandate we have in proclaiming the
gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul is sent “to proclaim the gospel, and
not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its
power” (1 Cor 1:17). The path to unity is to be found in the
power of the cross. The Gospel we proclaim is made tangible and
relevant to us as we bear witness to the work of Jesus Christ in our
own lives and the life of the Christian community.
Gracious God, you sent your son Jesus Christ in the
power of the Spirit to redeem your people. Unite us in our diversity,
that we might affirm and proclaim together the good news of
the life, death and resurrection of Christ for a world in need of his
QUOTES AND PHOTOS FROM EACH DAY
SAT 18th: TOGETHER WE ARE CALLED TO BE SAINTS
Rev. Ian Gallagher, St Brigid's Stillorgan
was sent behind enemy lines to rescue us, to bring us back alive. Do we
still live for, because of, with and out of a need to give our answer
to Jesus' death?
Do we live in Him as He lives in us?
If you, like me, believe Jesus has inspired countless people to acts of
self-sacrifice, if you believe that the humbling, self-giving love
Jesus taught is what you need, if you believe that truth and meaning
and a worthwhile life is found in living a life that Jesus wants - then
you, like me, are not living for yourself alone.
What Our Lord wants us to do is to "love one another as I have loved you".
Our lives are not our own. They belong to Him who saved them, and gave
them back to us again, and because of that we are all and have been at
our baptism, called and sent out to be saints."
SUN 19th: TOGETHER WE ARE CALLED TO GIVE THANKS FOR GOD'S GRACE IN ONE ANOTHER
Dr. Geraldine Smyth, Irish School of Ecumenics
"This evening we come in thanksgiving and ask for the grace of perseverance for our unfinished ecumenical journey. We need to
encourage one another in the faith that God still has plans for us. It
is God who began this work in us, that will bring it to completion.
To understand Christian Unity we need to enter the mind of Christ in
His longing for oneness for His disciples. He prayed for an
all-embracing unity, not based on sameness – the disciples
couldn’t have been more different from one another! He was never
preoccupied with uniformity in belief and worship. Unity in Christ is
no mere matter of social politeness, it doesn’t stop at tolerance.
Do we not need to pray for the gift of not giving up discovering the
gifts of grace that each of our Churches is holding in trust from
Christ? We dare not keep these gifts wrapped up in a napkin, but need
to find creative ways of exchanging gifts. In such hidden shifts of
mindsets and small gestures of opening up, we will come to know the
other as gift of God."
MON 20th: TOGETHER WE ARE NOT LACKING IN ANY SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Reflection by a Sister
I was thinking about today's theme it came to me that it is the virtue
of humility which opens us up to receive the utter goodness of God in
Christ Jesus. This virtue will enable us to recognise the features of
Christ in the other Churches. Thanksgiving in receiving God's gift to
us in Christ will heal our divisions and divides."
Sr Mary Paul (photo), who died 10 years ago and who was a great ecumenist in our community loved the quote of St Sergio - "contemplating the Most Holy Trinity overcomes the hateful divisions of our times".
TUE 21st: TOGETHER WE AFFIRM THAT GOD IS FAITHFUL
Rev. Canon Robert Warren, Taney Parish, Church of Ireland, Dundrum
come a long way, and yet, I think that there's still that kind of
frustration that we haven't quite got the prize. And why it is that we
haven't got the prize - I don't know! I'm not sure that we have
actually embraced it enough as Churches. We do it quite well at the
official level - we have the interaction - but I'm not altogether sure
that our congregations now actually see it as a priority anymore. Some
of that is to do with complacency. Some of it is reflected in what our
Archbishop Michael Jackson drew our attention to last autumn when he
highlighted that within his diocese there is still quite a degree of
secterianism in our people. People were upset because they didn't see
themselves in that light - but I think you only have to scratch the
surface to be able to see the underlying currents are still there...
they probably exist still in all our communities, even if it's under
Where we've come from - we have come a long way. There is no doubt
about that. We now freely can experience each others' worship, we
can be in each others' company, and so on... We've
come to the realisation that we can have unity in diversity, and for me
that has been a worthwhile change in the ecumenical movement.
we travel together, we ask God to bless us, we will see the
faithfulness of God... to all of us, and how we have been blessed in
different ways. Let's hope we can travel together in love, in peace, in
concord, to the glory of the One Lord.
WED 22nd: TOGETHER WE ARE CALLED INTO FELLOWSHIP
Reflection by a Sister
As believers in Christ we are all members of his body, sharing the same knowledge and love of God. The fellowship of
the Holy Spirit is an expression of God's love which we experience in
our relationship with him and with others. The love flowing between the
Father, Son and Spirit is dynamic and creative and we are called to
share in that love by responding to God's invitation to enter into
fellowship or communion with him. In the Rublev icon this is depicted
by the empty space at the table; we are invited to take our place there
and to become enfolded in the life of the Trinity.
Right from the beginning of our Christian life through our baptism, we
become children of God and brothers and sisters of one another. From
that moment God is welcoming us into a progressively deeper
relationship with himself, and he holds us all in his heart calling us
into fellowship with each other, but this only becomes a reality if our
hearts are open to the work of his Spirit.
(Photo: Display in our Chapel during the Week of Prayer 2014)
THURS 23rd: TOGETHER WE SEEK TO BE IN AGREEMENT
Rev.Tony Coote, Adm., Kilmacud & Mount Merrion Parishes
such thing as a perfect family! Each one of us individually are not perfect –
so put us all together and it’s a recipe for disaster!
comes then to the Christian family it’s no wonder that there is division,
because as individuals we seek our own way so often. We often have our own
agenda. And so, sadly, do the groups of the different Christians – they seek to
have their own agenda.
Christ is not divided, because if Christ is divided then there is no
Christianity at all! There is only one Christ. Our perfection then, is reached
when we meet Jesus face to face, and then we will be perfect and will be seen
as we are seen.
We are all
going up the same mountain, we are just taking different paths!
We pray in
this week then that as followers of Jesus Christ we find enrichment in each
other not in an idealistic way when we think that we will get it all perfect
but to not strive for it is the scandal… to refuse to take that step towards
others with the same faith in Jesus is the scandal…
FRI 24th: TOGETHER WE BELONG TO CHRIST
Reflection by a Sister
this time of the evening, a little over five years ago I was here in
this chapel with some members of my family. We were taking photographs,
because earlier that day I had just made my
first profession of vows as a Carmelite. Just as we were finishing the
photos, a good friend of our community – Hilary Hughes –
walked into the chapel for Evening Prayer, as she often did. Hilary is
a member of the Methodist Church and came to know us many years ago
during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Reflecting on this
photograph with Hilary, it strikes me that the very first person
outside my immediate family and community that I met after taking my
religious vows was a member of another Christian tradition. That is
significant. Hilary belongs to Christ from her baptism – just as
much as I belong to Christ from my baptism!
Sometimes we can be afraid of showing our ignorance when we talk with
Christians of another denomination, and this fear can make us distant
or uncomfortable with them. But there is one safe question that we can
always ask any Christian of any denomination, and that is: “Where
were you baptized?” It is our common denominator, if you like!
You might even be surprised at the answer you receive – it might
even open up a very interesting conversation!
SAT 25th: TOGETHER WE PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL
Rev.Jameson Kunjukunju, Mar Thoma Syrian Church
in the resurrection of Christ makes Christianity a unique religion. The
power of the resurrection is a power of unity. A divided church cannot
share the gospel.
Even though there are differences in culture, tradition, rituals and
practices, there is only one faith, one baptism and one Gospel. Christ
is the Gospel and we too are called out to be gospels to our brothers
and sisters through our lives. There are not only four gospels but
five... the fifth gospel is myself and yourself, we the Church. We may
belong to different denominations such as Roman Catholic, Oriental
orthodox, reformed or evangelicals... But Christ is our unifying factor
and the focal point of our mission life.
Proclaiming the Gospel together is a privilege.
Proclaiming the Gospel together demands our humbleness and attitude of unworthiness before God.
Proclaiming the Gospel together demands our willingness to carry the cross of Christ.
Divided church cannot share the Gospel in a meaningful way.
May God bless us to proclaim the Gospel with a heart of unity and concord.