The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010 is: “YOU ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS”.
Some thoughts from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’s resource website www.oikoumene.org:
In the ecumenical movement we have often meditated on Jesus’ final discourse before his death. In this final testament the importance of the unity of Christ’s disciples is emphasized: “That all may be one … so that the world may believe.” (John 17.21)
This year the churches of Scotland have made the original choice of inviting us to listen to Christ’s final discourse before his ascension, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24.46-48). It is on these final words of Christ that we shall reflect each day.
During the 2010 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we are invited to follow the whole of chapter 24 of Luke’s gospel. Whether it be the terrified women at the tomb, the two discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus or the eleven disciples overtaken by doubt and fear, all who together encounter the Risen Christ are sent on mission: “You are witness of these things”. This mission of the Church is given by Christ and cannot be appropriated by anyone. It is the community of those who have been reconciled with God and in God, and who can witness to the truth of the power of salvation in Jesus Christ.
We sense that Mary Magdalene, Peter or the two Emmaus disciples will not witness in the same way. Yet it will be the victory of Jesus over death that all will place at the heart of their witness. The personal encounter with the risen One has radically changed their lives and in its uniqueness for each one of them one thing becomes imperative: “You are witnesses of these things”. Their story will accentuate different things, sometimes dissent may arise between them about what faithfulness to Christ requires, and yet all will work to announce the Good News.
Sunday 17 January
You Are Witnesses
@ Grays United Reformed Church, Bradleigh Avenue, Grays
Prayers will be said for the work of the church of Thurrock and for Transformation Thurrock
Communion will be served
East Thurrock United Service
@ St Margaret’s Parish Church
The Green, Stanford-le-Hope
Tuesday 19 January
East Thurrock Prayer
@ St Margaret’s
The Green, Stanford-le-Hope
All are welcome to join in united prayer
Thursday 21 January
Grays Leaders’ Prayer
@ Tilbury Seafarers’ Centre
Tenants Row, Tilbury Docks
Local ministers, department heads and prayer leaders gathering to prayer for the United Witness in Tilbury Docks
Service for Christian Unity
St. Clement’s and West Thurrock Chapel Joint Communion Service
@ St. Clement’s Parish Church
London Road, West Thurrock
Friday 22 January
Prayer for United Witness
United Reformed Church
Bradleigh Avenue, Grays
Saturday 23 January
Transformation Thurrock Prayer
Witness, because we are Witnesses who have Witnessed
@ Grays Methodist Church
corner of Hathaway Road/Lodge Lane, Grays
Worship and intercession around the theme that should unite every Believer
How we can engage with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in our personal prayers or as a basis for united prayer throughout the week:
- by praising the One who gives us the gift of life and resurrection (Day 1)
- by knowing how to share the story of our faith with others (Day 2)
- by recognizing that God is at work in our lives (Day 3)
- by giving thanks for the faith we have received (Day 4)
- by confessing Christ’s victory over all suffering (Day 5)
- by seeking to always be more faithful to the Word of God (Day 6)
- by growing in faith, hope and love (Day 7)
- by offering hospitality and knowing how to receive it when it is offered to us (Day 8)
Would our witness not be more faithful to the gospel of Christ in each of these eight aspects if we witnessed together?
Make an attempt to attend an event NOT in your own church or locality! This says something very powerful in the heavenlies about our intent, and enacts the promise of God in Psalm 133, that unity releases his blessing (healing, redemption and salvation) in the community and on the land.
if you’re running events at your church this week, please incorporate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity theme “YOU ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS” in your prayer gatherings and services.
Other events maybe added to this list – please let us know if you have a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity event you wish to be promoted and invite people from other churches to and we’ll email it out for you.
Other resources are available from www.oikoumene.org