Week of Prayer for Christian Unity…
Why do we have a ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’? Why just a week…? Why not a month…or a year of prayer? Maybe it should be a lifetime of prayer…….?
But I have more questions…! Why do we pray for unity at all?
What separates Christians? What causes disunity? Were we ever united?
I do not have answers that satisfy…but I do have questions!
Let me assume that we all believe (‘We’ being Catholic and Protestant, Orthodox and Messianic) that Jesus is God incarnate (come in the flesh, born of the Virgin Mary) and that through him we are again in fellowship with God…not by anything we’ve done or could do..but but grace! That Jesus is the only way to God and through him, with him and in him we are saved! We have the deposit of the Holy Spirit now living in us through a new birth, not of the flesh..but by the Spirit and the water of the new creation! Let’s not get too screwed up here with the words I am using poorly..but let us agree the all who are ‘in Christ’ are united..just as The Father and Son are one…so are all who are in Christ! The Prayer of Jesus in The Good News of John, chapter 17 speaks about the unity Jesus has with The Father, and about how that same unity is now to be given to the whole world through the Good News..the message his disciples would proclaim..make known…so that the world would believe!
But the world doesn’t believe! Why?
Part of the question I ask is why are Christians seemingly disunited…? Why do we have a week during the year to pray for unity? Why or how, can those in Christ be disunited?
May I be so bold as to tell you what I see the problem is…? It is power and the struggle to hold onto power! It is the understanding that I am right and you are wrong! It is where we claim to have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…yet miss Him, who is the truth! When we presume to have the answers and that our answer is the correct one..when we create systems and liturgies that separate the Children of God into those who can and those who can’t..those who have and those who don’t…when we create power hierarchies that rule from a power system of top down, rather than following the example of Jesus, and serve from the bottom upwards…we create false divisions in the Body of Christ!
To pray for unity, for me, is a complete misnomer….! If we are going to pray…let it be for repentance..for a dismantling of power systems, for new humble servant hearts…for strength to stand up and open our hearts and our church buildings..our services..our liturgies and the great Eucharistic feast, at the Lord’s table, to all in Christ!
Let us pray to dismantle the systems of the world that have infected the Body of Christ with its desire for power and celebrity status! Let us stop playing this ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ game, that allows and conditions us, to annually accept, the segregation of God’s children, in the name of Christ!
Sometimes tables need to be turned over…theses need to be nailed to doors…
Br. Michael Daly, CJ
12th January 2017
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