Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2013

This began on 18th January and runs to 25th January.
 I am way behind on this one and may do some more posts as the week progresses but this is for starters.

Click here for 2013 resources for The Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity  from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland and some more here.  

The resources were prepared by an ecumenical group in South India after reflecting upon their own context and carry a theme that calls us to respond to the obligations to act justly in the world.

This year’s theme, What does God require of us?, is inspired by Micah 6:6-8:

"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

To mark its centenary, the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI) was invited to prepare the resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU) 2013 and they involved the All India Catholic University Federation and the National Council of Churches in India. In the preparatory process while reflecting on the significance of the WPCU, it was decided that in a context of great injustice to Dalits in India and in the Church, the search for visible unity cannot be disassociated from the dismantling of casteism and the lifting up of contributions to unity by the poorest of the poor.

The Dalits in the Indian context are the communities which are considered ‘out-castes’. They are the people worst affected by the caste-system, which is a rigid form of social stratification based on notions of ritual purity and pollution.
Under the caste-system, the castes are considered to be ‘higher’ or ‘lower’. The Dalit communities are considered to be the most polluted and polluting and thus placed outside the caste-system and were previously even called ‘untouchable’. Because of casteism the Dalits are socially marginalized, politically under-represented, economically exploited and culturally subjugated. Almost 80% of Indian Christians have a Dalit background. 

Despite outstanding progress in the twentieth century, the churches in India remain divided along the doctrinal divisions inherited from Europe and elsewhere. Christian disunity in India within churches and between them is further accentuated by the caste system. 
Casteism, like apartheid, racism and nationalism poses severe challenges for the unity of Christians in India and therefore, for the moral and ecclesial witness of the Church as the one body of Christ. 
As a church-dividing issue, casteism is consequently an acute doctrinal issue. It is in this context that this year’s WPCU invites us to explore the well known biblical text of Micah 6:6-8, focusing upon the question ‘what does God require of us’ as the main theme. 
The Dalit experience serves as the crucible from within which theological reflections on the biblical theme emerge for this years Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The materials were adapted by the Britain and Ireland writers group and they have written additional material, including meditations for each of the 8 days, and two versions of the worship service.

 Other bits and pieces 

 The two articles below are both by Fr. Ron Rolheiser and are well worth a read

and this one entitled The Other Side of Orthodoxy

 “And the deepest level of communication is not communication,
 but communion.
 It is wordless.
 It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech,
and it is beyond concept.
  Not that we discover a new unity. 
We discover an older unity. 
My dear brothers, we are already one. 
But we imagine that we are not. 
And what we have to recover is our original unity. 
What we have to be is what we are."

—Thomas Merton from his Asian Journal.

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