The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally held between 18-25 January. In 2021 that means for a week starting tomorrow (Monday). Sadly we will not all be able to get together in person as the Christian Community, but that does not stop us from making use of materials that have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland.
The theme that they have chosen, “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, is based on John 15:1-17 and expresses the Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family. For 2021, the sisters are inviting churches across the world to enter into their tradition of prayer and silence that is rooted in the ancient traditions of the Church. Those ancient traditions include the offices of daily prayer which are prayed by individuals and groups each day in many many places and settings around the world. Although these individuals and groups are praying separately, they are also praying together and those who pray the office daily feel this togetherness very strongly.
Whilst the original version of this year’s material for Ecumenical Celebration was created for communal worship, the tradition of prayer and silence lends itself well to this period of lockdown. A simplified version of their communal service was prepared by Lynne Chitty, on behalf of ROOTS for Churches Ltd who publish weekly worship and learning resources at: www.rootsontheweb.com.
I have modified Lynne’s version for use at home in lockdown, so that we can all join in this celebration of what unites us as Christians. I hope that you can join with me in praying for Christian Unity this week at whatever time and place that may be.
There are two versions of the simplified service:
Two prayers from the Scottish Prayer Book
In the time of any common Plague or Sickness
O ALMIGHTY and merciful God,
with whom are the issues of life and death:
Grant us, we beseech thee,
help and deliverance in this time of grievous sickness and mortality,
and sanctify to us this affliction,
that in our sore distress we may turn our hearts unto thee;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the Unity of the Church
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior,
the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the
great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away
all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us
from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body
and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith,
one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all
of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth
and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and
one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.