Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Praying for Visible Unity in the Church

There is no avoiding it: Until the Church is united in the bond of Love
found at Pentecost, it is failing to heed its Lord and its call.

Below is a memorial (a short form of prayer on a specific concern) for Christian unity. During this week of prayer for unity in the Church, we are called to remember that the division between Christians is perhaps the greatest scandal and failing among us. It so deeply vitiates the witness of the Gospel in many places that no amount of evangelism or church-growth efforts will suffice. We must overcome our divisions.

To do this, we need only turn to the Gospel itself, and to the faith of the Ancient and Undivided Church. That Apostolic Faith is fully sufficient to meet the need, providing both the essential saving message of Salvation, and the humbling of our various “traditions” under Our Lord’s call to bring the Gospel to all peoples, as found in the Great Commission.

This work must begin in prayer and in the hearts of individual believers. Until we understand that division in the Church is a sin and a violation of our baptismal covenant, and until will accept that unity comes not from institutional initiatives but from immersion in the Unity of the Triune God, the present fractured condition of the Church will remain the hideous and shameful wrong it is.

This memorial is traditionally offered in the mid-morning, recalling the hour of Pentecost, when the Church was given the Holy Spirit so that it might accomplish its mission in unity and love.

For Visible Unity in the Christian Faith

Antiphon: Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity with itself.

V. O pray for the peace of Jerusalem;
R. They shall prosper that love you.

Let us pray.

RANT, we pray you, Almighty God, to the whole Christian people unity, peace, and true concord, both visible and invisible; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 LORD Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; Regard not our sins, but the faith of your Church, and grant her that peace and unity which is agreeable to your will; who lies and reigns God for ever and ever. Amen.

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