Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is held from January 18 to 25, each year. This eight day period —first proposed by the Franciscan Fr. Paul Wattson in 1908—begins with the feast of the confession of St. Peter and ends with the feast of the conversion of St. Paul. By finding ways to pray together during this week, we join with all people around the world who are praying, reflecting, studying, and even eating and drinking together to celebrate and pray for Christian unity
Day 1 – Proclamation: It is necessary to go through Samaria (John 4:1-4)
Genesis 24:10-33, Psalm 42, 2 Corinthians 8:1-7
The conflict between Jews and Samaritans went back centuries. The negative reputation of Samaria came from its mix of races and religions. Samaritans, in turn, had difficulty accepting Jews.
Jesus makes it clear that "going through Samaria" is a choice he is making; he wants to encounter those who represent difference. Dialogue with the different makes us grow. It also means that times of transition are needed on a journey. These times are not free from conflicts and crises. In the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, conflicts come to the fore. But gradually they translate themselves into an opportunity for cultural encounter and reciprocal growth.
Diversity and plurality are expressions of God’s greatness. They are God’s gifts. May we learn from God’s grace; may we drink from it and may we savour it!
What does it mean for you and for your community of faith "to go through Samaria"?
What steps has your church taken to meet other churches and learn from them?
God of all peoples and all faces, Teach us to go through Samaria to meet our brothers and sisters from other churches.
Allow us to go there with an open heart so we may learn from every church, religion and culture!
We know that you are the source of unity. We pray for the unity Christ wills for us. Amen.
The reflection and prayer above were taken from the Canadian Council of Churches’ website, where prayers for the other seven days this week can also be found.