Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Confession of St. Peter - Beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Almighty and Merciful God, with great power you gathered together the first Christians in the city of Jerusalem. Grant that, like this first church in Jerusalem, we may come together to be bold in preaching and living the good news of reconciliation and peace wherever there is inequality and injustice. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who liberates us from the bondage of sin and death. Amen.

For this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Palestinian Christians from the Church in Jerusalem have selected the passage from Acts 2:42 as the week's theme: "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." There's a wonderful link between the ancient church community of Jerusalem and each of our own churches, and between all the churches and the communion of saints, the assembly of holy ones in the heavenly New Jerusalem.

This year's theme is a simple one, focusing on the essentials of our faith: the teaching of Christ handed down through the ages; the communion and fellowship shared among Christ's followers; the Holy Eucharist, Christ's own Body and Blood; and prayer: the personal and communal relationship which we continually develop with Jesus the Savior. By reflecting anew, praying about, and putting into action, within each of our own contexts, these basics of faith, we strive to renew the unity and vitality of the Mystical Body of Christ, as we continue to struggle with our sisters and brothers throughout the world for justice, freedom and peace for all.

Recommended Scriptural readings:  Joel 2:21-22; 28-29, Psalm 46, Acts 2:1-12, John 14:15-21

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