Proclaim the Mighty Acts of God: Theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2016

 

week-prayer-christian-unity-2016The people of Latvia and other Eastern European nations have known what it is like to go from a world of darkness into a world of light. Though the tragedies of Nazism and Communism ravaged these countries during the Second World War, which historians tell us was simply act two of World War I, the nations and their people have experienced a new era, a time of rebirth and renewal. A group of them from different Christian Churches: Orthodox, Lutheran, Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical were asked to study and reflect on a theme that is ecumenically inspiring; eschatologically hopeful and morally challenging. The text from 1 Peter 2: 9-10 reminds the new Christians, perhaps in the context of their baptism, that they are a new nation, God’s people, for a purpose. They are to proclaim the mighty acts (wonderful deeds) of God.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own, so that you may proclaim the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light (1Pt 2:9)

God’s Mighty Deeds

The wonderful and marvelous deeds of God are the many interventions of God in the history of salvation from the creation of the universe to the resurrection of Jesus. They include Abraham’s vocation to be the father of faith of all nations, the liberation of the people of God from the slavery of Egypt, and the mission of the prophets to promote moral integrity among God’s people. Over and above all of these foreshadowings of the Ancient Dispensation, God sent his Son to be the Messiah and Savior of the world through his death and resurrection.

 

In Our Time

Those who believe in Jesus Christ are a chosen race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation for a reason. They are called to proclaim the mighty deeds of the Lord. This proclamation/evangelization continues in our time. The Latvian people see their history and the present reality as God’s mighty deed in history, calling Christians to unity. This unity is not entirely perfect, but it is a real communion. We are all one through baptism and worship of one Lord. We believe in Christ, one Lord, and share one faith. We have one Father who calls us all his children and commands that we love one another as brothers and sisters.

This mission we all share with our unity and our differences. Through receptive ecumenism we seek to learn from each other what the Spirit speaks to the churches (Rv 2:29). Having lived in the twentieth century, we pray that the twenty-first century will be a time of reconciliation and renewal for all followers of Jesus Christ through the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

Worship Resources

The planning commission of the Working Group of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity met with the Latvian committee in September 2014. They developed appropriate prayers and reflections for individual and group usage for each of the eight days of the Week of Prayer. In the light of their experience as Christians under the transforming fire of history, God’s grace, and present realities, they prepared resources for prayer and reflection during 2016.  These resources are available through the international offices of the World Council of Churches, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Friars of the Atonement at Graymoor, New York. Other providers at the local level also make these materials available.