As we rejoice in the Christ-child born ever anew in our hearts and in our world, we continue our pilgrimage of Christian faith in January with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year’s celebration is from January 18 to January 25 and coincides with the annual celebration of the life, vision, commitment and achievements of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This year’s ecumenical theme is drawn from 1 Corinthians 1:1-17: “Has Christ been Divided?” We are drawn as churches to come together in prayer, worship, fellowship and mission that gives answer to this question through joyful expression of our God-given unity. All are invited to pray during this week for our life together as church in the Puget Sound Region and to take part in celebrations in the local communities. Of special note this year is the County-wide Week of Prayer Celebration on Sunday, January 19, at 2:30 PM at Christ our Hope Catholic Church, in downtown Seattle. Please help us spread the word for this important event.
Pope Francis recently stated on the theme of ecumenism: “How many important things unite us! If we really believe in the abundantly free working of the Holy Spirit, we can learn so much from one another! It is not just about being better informed about others, but rather about reaping what the Spirit has sown in them, which is also meant to be a gift for us….Through an exchange of gifts, the Spirit can lead us ever more fully into truth and goodness.” (Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, November 24, 2013)
In our faithfulness to the call to embrace the gift of the fellowship of Christ, the cross of Christ ever more fully radiates its transformative power in our world. Dr. King bore witness to the equality and full humanity of all God’s people living together in justice and peace and was assassinated for manifesting such Christ-like love. As churches, we may not see the full fruits of our service and preaching of the gospel; in our unity, we may more authentically be “good news” – light-bearers for the dream that God wishes for our church and our world.
Would you join with the Church Council of Greater Seattle in prayer for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:
O God of life,
lead us to justice and peace,
that suffering people may discover hope;
the scarred world find healing;
and divided churches become visibly one,
through the one who prayed for us,
and in whom we are one Body,
your Son, Jesus Christ,
who with you and the Holy Spirit,
is worthy to be praised, one God,
now and forever. Amen.
–World Council of Churches 10th Assembly, Unity Statement