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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day 4

Wednesday 16 May 2018

This week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Australia is observed in the week between Ascension and Pentecost. The theme for the week is The Right Hand of God. This theme has been taken up in a hymn, The Right Hand of God, written in a workshop of the Caribbean Conference of Churches in August 1981, which has become an 'anthem' of the ecumenical movement in the region, translated into a number of different languages. Each day is made up of bible readings, reflections, questions and a prayer.

Extra resources and readings for the week can be found here.

Day 4  
Hope and Healing
 
Readings
 
Isaiah 9:2-7a His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace
Psalm 34:1-14 Seek peace, and pursue it
Revelation 7:13-17 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes
John 14:25-27 Peace I leave with you

Within the Caribbean, violence is a problem to which the churches are called to respond. There is an alarmingly high rate of murder, much of which stems from domestic abuse, gang warfare and other forms of criminality. There is also a rising rate of self-harm and suicide in some parts of the region.

Reflection
The kingdom which God promised, the kingdom which Jesus proclaimed and made manifest in his ministry, is a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. What does this Good News mean for those trapped in the darkness of violence? In the prophet’s vision, light shone on those who lived in a land of deep darkness. But how can Christians bring the light of Jesus to those living in the darkness of domestic and gang violence? What sense of hope can Christians offer? It is a sad reality that division among Christians is a counter-sign, which hampers the communication of hope. However, the quest for peace and reconciliation between the different churches and confessions is the opposite of that. When Christians strive for unity in a world of conflict, they offer the world a sign of reconciliation. Christians who refuse to enter a logic of privilege and status, who refuse to demean others and their communities, give witness to the peace of God’s kingdom, where the Lamb guides the saints to springs of the water of life. This is a peace the world needs, and one which brings healing and comfort to those afflicted by violence.
Questions
 
1. Over what issues of peace, justice and human rights have churches of different traditions come together in recent times to present a united voice to Australian governments? With what effect?
2. Spend some time in consideration of the questions posed in the first paragraph of today’s ‘Reflection’.
3. What practical steps towards Christian unity have you been involved in, or are you aware of, in your local area?
Prayer
 
God of all comfort and hope, your resurrection defeated the violence of the cross. As your people, may we be a visible sign that the violence of the world will be overcome. This we pray in the name of our risen Lord. Amen.
 
The right hand of God is pointing in our land, pointing the way we must go; so clouded is the way, so easily we stray, but we’re guided by the right hand of God.
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