Christian Unity


The news the past few days has been filled with violence, Covid 19 updates, and sadness.  Two NYPD officers were shot, one was killed and the other is clinging to life in the hospital.  The gunman, too, is in critical condition.  The officers were responding to a 911 call over a domestic dispute when they were shot.  In addition, an eleven-month-old girl was shot, in a separate incident while she sat in the car with her mother.  She celebrated her first birthday undergoing surgery.  While her prognosis is positive the fact that a child so young was involved in such an incident is appalling.  These incidents are a reflection of the pervasiveness of violence in our world and call for a great deal of prayer.

This week we have been celebrating the Week of Christian Unity.  The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2022 was selected by the Middle East Council of Churches and originates from the churches in Lebanon. Present times in Lebanon are extremely difficult and economically disastrous. All this combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made the situation quite stressful. The power of prayer in solidarity with those who suffer is a demonstration of Christian unity and a sign of communion.

The theme, taken from the second chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, is the Epiphany. Each year in January, the Church recalls the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, highlighting God’s invitation to all of humanity to a new covenant in the Incarnation of Christ. In the Eastern Churches, Epiphany is joined to the mystery of the Baptism of Christ, a baptism all Christians hold in common as testimony to their faith in the Son of God.

Jesus Christ, the Word of God, has been made manifest in human history by becoming one of us and one with us. Born in a stable, born in homelessness, he is our King and Lord. The Magi bore witness to the Light of hope coming into the world as they faithfully followed the star, coming from foreign lands in the East, until arriving in Bethlehem of Judea.

The solidarity of God with created humanity in this gift of Epiphany calls us to a life of solidarity with the homeless, the refugee, the weakest and the rejected. We are all human beings worthy of redemption and prepared by that redeeming love to the glory of your Kingdom. Help us, O gracious Lord, to do this in unity and peace.

As we who bear the name of Christian, from the days of the church at Antioch, hold a special place in our hearts for the ancient Christian communities in the land we call holy, remind us to continually respond to our baptismal promises to you, who said through your Spirit at the Jordan, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Help your Church, merciful One, to be a light for unity within itself and a beacon of hope for all humanity. We ask this through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit reign as One God for ever and ever. Amen.