God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may you give to all Christians, and especially to those entrusted with leadership in your Church, the spirit of wisdom and revelation. With the eyes of our hearts may we see the hope to which you have called us: one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above and through all and in all. This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
On the occasion of the 500th anniversary year of the beginnings of the Reformation, the theme for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is: “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (2 Corinthians 5:14-20). This service will highlight the main concerns of Martin Luther’s Reformation, and it will also recognize the pain of the subsequent deep divisions which afflicted the unity of the Church. In selecting this theme, it is an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation.
The theme finds its origins in Pope Francis’ 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), from St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:14). The Council of Churches in Germany took up the work of creating the resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This biblical text emphasizes that reconciliation is a gift from God, intended for the entire creation. “God was reconciling the world (kosmos) to God’s self in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (v.19). As a result of God´s action, those who have been reconciled in Christ are called in turn to proclaim this reconciliation in word and deed: “The love of Christ compels us.”
About 20 congregations from our area will participate in this service – with clergy and the Unity Choir from many local congregations, as well as Trinity’s Heavenly Handbells. A reception will follow the service with displays of ecumenical dialog documents produced over the last fifty years and ecumenical service projects shared by congregations in our area.
—Roger Berner, Pastor