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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Day 7

Saturday 19 May

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 7
 
Building family in household and church
 
Readings
 
Exodus 2:1-10 The birth of Moses
Psalm 127 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain
Hebrews 11:23-24 Moses was hidden by his parents … because they saw that the child was beautiful
Matthew 2:13-15 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt
 
Reflection 
 
In the Caribbean the family continues to be adversely affected by the legacy of enslavement and by new factors such as the migration of parents, financial problems and domestic violence. Facing this reality, the churches of the Caribbean are working to give support to both nuclear and extended families. Reflection Families are of central importance for the protection and nurture of children. The Bible accounts of the infancies of both Moses and Jesus, who were in mortal danger from the moment they were born because of the murderous orders of angry rulers, illustrate how vulnerable children can be to external forces. These stories also show how action can be taken to protect such little ones. Matthew presents us with a model of fatherhood that is in loving fidelity to the Lord’s command, especially in turbulent times. The Scriptures view children as a blessing and as hope for the future. For the Psalmist, they are ‘like arrows in the hand of a warrior’. As Christians, we share a common calling to live as supportive family networks, relying on the strength of the Lord for the task of building strong communities in which children are protected and can flourish.

Questions
1. How would you define a family? What is the role and importance of families in society? In the church?
2. What do you know about Isaac and Rebekah’s family? Jacob and Leah’s? Elimelech and Naomi’s? Jesse’s? Matha, Mary and Lazaras’s?
3. What observations and understandings emerge from your discussion of these Biblical families?
4. Consider the advice given to families in Ephesians 5:21 to 6:9. What, if any, is still useful today? What has changed?
Prayer
 
Gracious God, you sent your son to be born in an ordinary family with ancestors who were both faithful and sinful. We ask your blessing upon all families within households and communities. We pray especially for the unity of the Christian family so that the world may believe. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
 
The right hand of God is writing in our land, writing with power and with love; our conflicts and our fears, our triumphs and our tears, are recorded by the right hand of God.
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