The Canadian Council of Churches has prepared resources for the celebration and exploration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which is held yearly from January 18th to 25th. This year the focus is to pray with the Christians of Brazil.
Introduction: Who drinks of this water…
The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman invites us to try water from a different well and also to offer a little water of our own. In diversity, we enrich each other. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a privileged moment for prayer, encounter and dialogue. It is an opportunity to recognize the richness and value present in the other, and to ask God for the gift of unity.
The resources also include eight days of Biblical reflection. The first day is particularly appropriate for the North Thompson Pastoral Charge as we continue our journey into an Ecumenical Shared Ministry.
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.