Called to proclaim the mighty acts of God (1 Peter 2: 9)
Saint Peter tells the early Church that in their search for meaning prior to encountering the Gospel they werenot a people. But through hearing the call to be God’s chosen race and receiving the power of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, they became God’s people. This reality is expressed in baptism, common to all Christians, in which we are born again of water and the Holy Spirit (cf. John 3:5). In baptism we die to sin, in order to rise with Christ to a new life of grace in God. It is an ongoing challenge daily to remain aware of this new identity in Christ.
Baptism opens up an exciting new journey of faith, uniting each new Christian with God’s people throughout the ages. The Word of God – the Scriptures with which Christians of all traditions pray, study, and reflect – is the foundation of a real, albeit incomplete, communion. In the shared sacred texts of the Bible, we hear of God’s saving acts in salvation history: leading his people out of slavery in Egypt, and the great mighty act of God: the raising of Jesus from the dead, which opened new life to all of us. Furthermore, prayerful reading of the Bible leads Christians to recognise the mighty acts of God in their own lives.
God has chosen us, but not as a privilege. God has made us holy, but not in the sense that Christians are more virtuous than others. We are holy insofar as we are committed to God’s service, which is always to bring the divine love to all people. Being a priestly people means being in service to the world. Christians live this baptismal calling and bear witness to God’s mighty acts in a variety of ways:
Healing wounds. Wars, conflicts and abuses have wounded the people of Latvia and many other countries. God’s grace helps us to beg forgiveness for the obstacles which prevent reconciliation and healing, to receive mercy, and to grow in holiness.
Searching for truth and unity. Awareness of our common identity in Christ calls us to work towards answering the questions that still divide us as Christians. Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we are called to share our experiences, and so discover that, in our common pilgrimage, Jesus Christ is among us.
An active commitment to human dignity. Christians who have been brought out of darkness into the marvellous light of the Kingdom recognize the extraordinary dignity of all human life. Through common social and charitable projects we reach out to the poor, the needy, the addicted, and the marginalized.
As well as the above information about this year’s theme, the Canadian Council of Churches’ website provides historical information about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, background about ecumenicism in Latvia since the resources for this year’s theme were written by an ecumenical group in Latvia, and Biblical reflections for the eight days of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.