The International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began on January 18, with the feast of The Confession of St. Peter and ends on January 25, the feast of The Conversion of St. Paul! For more than 100 years, Christians around the world have taken part in an octave of prayer for visible Christian unity. By annually observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU), Christians move toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper "that they all may be one."The theme for the 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, "Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power," is taken from the book of Exodus 15:6.
Throughout the Biblical narrative of salvation, an unmistakable motif is the unrelenting determination of the Lord to form a people whom He could call His own. The formation of such a people, united in a sacred covenant with God, is integral to the Lord's plan of salvation and to the glorification of His name. The prophets repeatedly remind Israel that their covenant demanded that relationships among its various social groups should be characterized by justice, compassion and mercy. Reconciliation often demands repentance, reparation and healing of memories.
As Jesus prepared to seal the new covenant in His own blood, His earnest prayer to the Father was that those given to Him by the Father would be one, just as He and the Father were one. When Christians discover their unity in Jesus, they participate in Christ's glorification in the presence of the Father, with the same glory that He had lived in the Father's presence before the world existed. Therefore, God's covenanted people must always strive to be a reconciled community that serves as an effective sign of how to live in justice and peace for all the people of the earth.
Today, the Bible continues to be a source of consolation and liberation, inspiring Christians to address the conditions that currently undermine the Body of Christ. The Church, like Israel, is called to be a sign and an active agent of reconciliation.
This morning the judge issued the verdict in the Jason Stockley murder trial. As you recall, Stockley was a police officer for the City of St. Louis when he shot and killed Anthony Smith after a police chase in 2011. There is a breach of community trust in this case. Protesters have continued to gather in downtown St. Louis and north St. Louis. Our US Constitution grants people the right to peacefully protest. Please pray that the protesters continue to act without violence. While the police and National Guard are there to maintain order, please pray that the police and National Guard act without prejudice.
Bishop Smith sent a notice to Diocese of Missouri clergy this morning calling for prayer and peaceful demonstration. He wrote, “Pray for justice. Pray for peace. Pray for the safety of all.”
Following is the prayer attributed to St. Francis.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we
are born to eternal life. Amen.
~ Fr. Al Jewson
This Sunday, May 21 is Rogation Sunday. “Rogation Sunday is the day when the Church has traditionally offered prayer for God’s blessing on the fruits of the earth and the labors of those who produce our food. The word “rogation” is from the Latin rogare, “to ask.” Historically, the Rogation Days (the three days before Ascension Day) were a period of fasting and abstinence, beseeching God’s blessing on the crops for a bountiful harvest. Few of us today directly derive our livelihood from the production of food, yet it is good to be reminded of our dependence upon those who do and our responsibility for the environment.”
Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand, may always give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Book of Common Prayer, pg. 258
~ Fr. Al Jewson
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.