What does God Require of Us? is the theme for this year’s observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. For more than 100 years, Christians around the world have taken part in an octave of prayer for visible Christian unity from January 18 – 25. By annually observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU), Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper “that they all may be one.”
When Jesus’ disciples disputed over “who was the greatest” (Mark 9:34), it was clear that this impulse was strong. But Jesus’ reaction was very simple: “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all”. (Mark 9:35).
For all Christians, the best example of such humble service is Jesus Christ. It is in his life, teaching, suffering, death and resurrection that we find inspiration for a modern victorious life of faith which expresses itself in social commitment in a spirit of humility, service and faithfulness to the Gospel. This victory is possible only through spirtual transformation and conversion. The message is to achieve a victory which integrates all Christians around the service of God and one’s neighbor. There is room for everyone in God’s plan of salvation.
During this week we are invited to enter more deeply into our faith and to ask the question, “What does God require of us?” The following questions are provided as opportunities to reflect upon the daily themes.
Day 1: Walking in Conversation (Genesis 11:1-9, Psalm 34:11-18, Acts 2:1-12, Luke 24:13-25)
- Where do we practice true conversation, across the various differences that separate us?
- Is our conversation oriented towards some grand project of our own, or towards new life which brings hope of resurrection?
- What people do we converse with, and who is not included in our conversations? Why?
Day 2: Walking with the Broken Body of Christ (Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 22:1-8, Hebrews 13:12-16, Luke 22:14-23)
- In light of that prophetic tradition in which God desires justice, rather than ritual without righteousness, we need to ask: how is the Eucharist, the mystery of Christ’s brokenness and new life, celebrated in all the places where we walk?
- What might we do, as Christians together, better to witness to our unity in Christ in places of brokenness and marginality?
Day 3: Walking Towards Freedom (Exodus 1:15-22, Psalm 17:1-6, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, John 4:4-26)
- Are there times, even in our own Christian communities, when the prejudices and judgments of the world, with regard to caste, age, gender, race, educational background, stop us seeing each other clearly in the light of God’s glory?
- What small, practical steps can we take, as Christians together, towards the freedom of the Children of God (Romans 8:21) for our churches and for wider society?