That they may be one
- Isaiah 1:12-18
- John 17:13-26
Jesus prays that we will be “completely one”, praying for an authentic and selfless unity, one with no half measures, reflected in the person of God, in the unity of the Trinity. Such unity is challenging, it requires self-reflection, humility, a release of power and control, and an openness to change. Is this the unity that you are praying for this week?
Isaiah reminds us of the hypocrisy that can still exist in our churches, claiming a love for others, but really only extending a full welcome to those who are like us. Many have experienced pain, rejection, abuse, and exclusion within the Church. A Christian expression of unity must include everyone and offer healing and justice. This is rarely done in isolation, but more often together.
Instead of offering empty worship Isaiah calls us to “learn to do good; seek justice” (Isaiah 1:17). Learning to do good also requires an openness to change. This is the perfect season for Christians to reflect not just on unity but on the role we can all play together in promoting racial justice.
To seek justice is to create space for God’s just ordering and enduring wisdom in a world all too often unmoved by suffering.
And yet, there is joy in doing what is right. There is joy in affirming that “Black Lives Matter” in the pursuit of justice for God’s oppressed, dominated, and exploited beloved. There is power in giving in to wisdom’s call for justice, and in doing it as a church together.
Trample my courts no more, says the Lord,
cease your offerings to me.
I cannot endure your worship,
it is too heavy to bear.
Put down your burden,
release the load of others.
Rescue, defend, and plead as one,
in my name, seek justice together.
God of Unity,
forgive us when we are self-serving
and help us to grow in unity and understanding
as we extend your love and justice to all.
- Where can you speak out together with other Christians against racial injustice?
- What burdens are people carrying in your area that the churches could support together?
- Where do you need God’s help in recognising, understanding and overcoming your own prejudice?
Go and Do
- Consider trying a devotional tool or app from another tradition. Pray that God will give you the humility and openness of heart to be open to receive something new from the tradition.
- What social justice or local outreach projects are active in your area and led by those from a different tradition or background to you? Find out and get involved.
- Join the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer Cycle praying with people from all around the world.
Find out more on the Churches Together in Britain & Ireland website at ctbi.org.uk/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-2023.