St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 27th January 2013
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: January 18 – 25
Etymologically the word UNITY can be traced to the Latin unus, una, unum- meaning ONE. Jesus’ prayer on this theme is very clear: “That they may all be ONE” (Jn 17:21).
Against all odds Christians have retained one thing, consciously or maybe unwittingly, but nonetheless thankfully: its belief in the “unam sanctam catholicam, apostolicam eccessiam” (One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church).
For people of faith especially, of Abrahamic root (monotheism – ie belief in one God) the desire for, and pursuance of unity is not a retrogressive act towards a kind of philosophical monism. It is an heuristic and obedient response to God’s call and command in mission to return all in ultimate consummation to the desired perfection of the Creator God. Through joint service, the diverse ways of demonstrating various beliefs and even more diverse ways of adoring the Triune God people come to the realization that their neighbours' ways are not so strange after all!
The theme for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2013 is: “What does God require of us?” The text from the Prophet Micah is set as the reference for this theme Micah 6: 6-8. This theme is divided into 8 subthemes: to support our daily reflection throughout the week as I am sure many of you have done:
Day 1: walking in conversation. Day 5: walking as the friends of Jesus.
Day 2: walking with the broken body of Christ. Day 6: walking beyond barriers.
Day 3: walking towards freedom. Day 7: walking in solidarity.
Day 4: walking as children of the earth. Day 8: walking in celebration.
Newham, with its richly diverse endowments will achieve a lot more positive outcomes if unity is this unity pursued and celebrated even beyond our churches, synagogues and mosques into our streets, schools, places of work and our wider communal lives. In the footsteps of Jesus we are the Evangelist of this message, the apostles of this mission today.