Day 5 – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
JERUSALEM – The 5th day prayer service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity led by the Benedictines of the Dormition Abbey was held at the Cenacle (the Upper Room), where the first Christian community gathered and experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. In all the divisions, every Christian community sees in this event, the origin of each community and the call to proclaim Jésus Christ as Lord and Saviour . Below is text for the day for reflection.
Theme for the Year 2013
What does God require of us?
(cf. Micah 6:6-8)
Jointly prepared and published by
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
The Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches
The Eight subthemes for the week, related to different modes of walking, enable us to focus on various dimensions of an authentic Christian discipleship which walks the path of righteousness that leads to life (Prov 12:28a).
Day 5: WALKING AS THE FRIENDS OF JESUS
We reflect on the biblical images of human friendship and love as models for God’s love for every human being. Understanding ourselves as beloved friends of God has consequences for relationships within the community of Jesus. Within the Church, all barriers of exclusion are inconsistent within a community in which all are equally the beloved friends of Jesus.
Biblical reflections and prayers for Thursday, January 24, 2013:
Day 5: Walking as the friends of Jesus
Song of Solomon 1.5-8 – Love and the beloved
Psalm 139.1-6 – You have searched me out and known me
3 John 2-8 – Hospitality to friends in Christ
John 15.12-17 – I call you friends
To walk humbly with God does not mean walking alone. It means walking with those who are those vital signs of God’s presence among us, our friends. “But I have called you friends” says Jesus in John’s Gospel. Within the freedom of love, we are able to choose our friends, and to be chosen as a friend. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” Jesus says to each of us. Jesus’ friendship with each of us transfigures and transcends our relationships with family and society. It speaks of God’s deep and abiding love for us all.
The Bible’s love poem, the Song of Solomon, has been interpreted in various ways such as the love of God for Israel, or the love of Christ for the Church. It remains the testimony of passion between lovers which transcends the imposed boundaries of society. While the lover says to her beloved “I am black and beautiful”, her words come with the plea “do not gaze at me because I am dark.” But the lover does gaze, and chooses love, as does God in Christ.
What does the Lord require of those called to walk with Jesus and his friends? In India it is a call to the churches to embrace the Dalits as equal friends of their common friend. Such a call to be friends with the friends of Jesus is another way of understanding the unity of Christians for which we pray this week. Christians around the world are called to be friends with all those who struggle against discrimination and injustice. The walk towards Christian unity requires that we walk humbly with God with—and as—the friends of Jesus.
Jesus, from the first moment of our being you offered us your friendship. Your love embraces all peoples, especially those who are excluded or rejected because of human constructions of caste, race or colour. Filled with the confidence and assurance of our dignity in you, may we walk in solidarity towards each other, and embrace each other in the Spirit, as children of God. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
- Who are those in your communities whom Christ calls into your friendship?
- What prevents the friends of Jesus from being friends with one another?
- How does being the friends of the same Jesus challenge the divided churches?