The Australian Church celebrates the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from 16 to 23 May. The National Council of Churches in Australia has provided the following reflections to use throughout the week.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2021 was prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp. The theme that was chosen, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, is based on John 15:1-17 and expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the church and the human family.
Day 7: Growing in unity – “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn 15:5a)
1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:21-23 Is Christ divided?
John 17:20-23 As you and I are one
On the eve of his death, Jesus prayed for the unity of those the Father gave him: “that they may all be one … so that the world may believe”. Joined to him, as a branch is to the vine, we share the same sap that circulates among us and vitalizes us.
Each tradition seeks to lead us to the heart of our faith: communion with God, through Christ, in the Spirit. The more we live this communion, the more we are connected to other Christians and to all of humanity. Paul warns us against an attitude that had already threatened the unity of the first Christians: absolutizing one’s own tradition to the detriment of the unity of the body of Christ. Differences then become divisive instead of mutually enriching. Paul had a very broad vision: “All are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God” (1 Cor 3:22-23).
Christ’s will commits us to a path of unity and reconciliation. It also commits us to unite our prayer to his: “that they may all be one. . .so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21).
Never resign yourself to the scandal of the separation of Christians who so readily profess love for their neighbour, and yet remain divided. Make the unity of the body of Christ your passionate concern. – The Rule of Taizé in French and English (2012) p. 13
Holy Spirit, vivifying fire and gentle breath, come and abide in us. Renew in us the passion for unity so that we may live in awareness of the bond that unites us in you. May all who have put on Christ at their Baptism unite and bear witness together to the hope that sustains them.
These resources are based on the international material for the 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity produced by the World Council of Churches. They have been adapted for use in Australia by the Faith and Unity Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
With thanks to the National Council of Churches in Australia.