By Kathryn M. Lohre
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today, bridging the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. People around the world will be praying, advocating, and working together to uplift the unity that is God’s gift to us to steward and to share with our neighbors.
This year, the resources jointly published by the Commission on Faith and Order of World Council of Churches and the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, have been prepared by the Minnesota Council of Churches. Rev. Dr. Kelly Sherman Conroy, the ELCA’s first Indigenous (Lakota) woman PhD, and Rev. Antonio Machado, were involved in the process.
The theme, “Do good; seek justice,” is from Isaiah 1:17 and invites participants to reflect on historic and ongoing racial disparities and the possibilities for racial justice. The specific history of terror against Indigenous people in Minnesota and the racial re-reckoning wrought by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in March 2020 encourage all people to consider the realities of their own contexts, and to pray and work for meaningful, transformative change toward God’s intentions of the goodness and justice for all of creation.
You are invited to engage this work in personal prayer and reflection. You may already have plans to join or lead an ecumenical service, as well. Next week, the ELCA and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will worship using the ecumenical service during our dialogue meeting, led by our common partner in the dialogue who represents the United Church of Christ, Rev. Mark Pettis.
You are also welcome to join the Ecumenical Service hosted today at the Interchurch Center Chapel in New York City, which will stream live on YouTube at 12 PM ET; a recording will also be posted. This is hosted by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, and the Interchurch Center Committee on Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Community Concerns – of which our Lutheran Office for World Community is a part.
We invite you to share a post on the “Lutheran Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Representatives Network” Facebook page of how you engage this week. Whatever you do, and however you do it, may it be to God’s glory and to the edification of Christ’s church.
I close with the prayer from the Day 1 reflections:
Lord, you called your people from slavery into freedom, Give us strength and courage to seek out those who are standing in need of justice. Allow us to see this need and provide help, and through your Holy Spirit gather us into the one fold of Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. Amen