January 22, 2014
This is the World Council of Churches (WCC) Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
It’s quite a mouthful, but I always love the idea of joining in prayer with people all over the world. (Or at least in the northern hemisphere. I note from the WCC website that the southern hemisphere does it during Pentecost. I’m not sure what that says about unity, except that it is something we Christians continue to work toward.)
The scriptural theme for the Week of Prayer this year is 1 Corinthians 1:1-17 , a rich passage that speaks of the grace offered to all of us, and the importance of there being no differences or quarrels amongst the people of the church. Surely, there is much to pray about in this passage.
At the General Council Office (joined by colleagues in Manitou Conference), we are praying through this week using a “week of guided prayer” model. I’m excited to be taking part. It’s voluntary, of course, but those who signed up are enjoying the opportunity to spend time each day reflecting on scripture, discussing it in groups of two or three, and praying together.
It wasn’t too complicated to plan. (Although perhaps that’s easy for me to say when Alydia Smith did most of the planning, and other colleagues here wrote reflections and prayers for each day!) Anyway, it’s kind of humbling to reflect that even working in a church office, we intentionally have to create an opportunity to pray and reflect on scripture together.
I know many others are better than I am about regular daily spiritual practice, but I also suspect there are others like me who need to be prompted in this way from time to time.
No matter how faithful we are in our regular practices, taking part in a focused prayer exercise like this is a wonderful opportunity for renewal. I’m appreciating going deeper into some familiar passages of scripture, and having conversations with colleagues that are simply about our faith. We’ve commented that these conversations and their scriptural sources come to mind at different times during the day, in our work, and the rest of our lives.
As a church, we are in the midst of extensive reflection and planning about our structures and the kind of church we want to be in the future. Through prayer and scripture, we are reminded that the guidance we need is there for us. Thanks be to God.