Start Date: 18 January 2019
End Date: 18 January 2019
Place: 365 Burrows Ave.
This week we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, more simply known as Christian Unity Week. That the different Christian churches together agree to set aside one week for intensive prayer and action in view of Christian unity shows that they all feel the need for more unity among believers in Christ. The World Christian Encyclopedia has documented 34,000 different Christian denominations. The figure keeps rising. Many Christian churches today spend much of their resources not in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth but in fighting and cannibalizing other Christian churches. To maintain their identity and show that they are distinct from other Christian churches, they emphasize their differences rather that the things they have in common. They fight each other and forget that as Christians we are called to be together in the world. This is a misunderstanding of what Christianity is all about, as Paul tells us:
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
Many people feel uneasy when they hear of Christian unity. They fear that Christian unity means putting everyone into the same mould, the same form of worship, the same way of serving God. No, Christian unity is not Christian uniformity. God gives His children varieties of gifts. Some are more intellectual and love to spend hours reading and reflecting of the Word of God, others are more charismatic and would rather sing praises, pray in tongues, shout alleluia and make a joyful noise to the Lord, and yet others are more service oriented and would rather spend their time helping the sick and feeding the hungry. Paul encourages us to engage in different services and ministries because we have different spiritual gifts. But he warns that we should not be so engrossed in the various works we do for the Lord, that we forget the one Lord of the work. In the various services we see diversity, in the one Lord we see unity. Christian unity, therefore, is a unity in diversity.
Let us today ask God’s forgiveness for all of God’s children for the sin of disunity. Let us pray for Christian unity, and resolve to extend a hand of reconciliation and friendship to our estranged brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Lord, hear the prayers of your people and bring the hearts of believers together in your praise and in common sorrow for their sins. Heal all divisions among Christians that we may rejoice in the perfect unity of your Church and move together as one to eternal life in your kingdom. Amen.