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Global Transformation through Unity and Prayer

January 7, 2014

a-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity

The annual week to pray specifically for Christian Unity has arrived again. It is taking place this year (2014) between January 18th and 25th. These dates have symbolic significance because they were between the Feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul.

The theme this year is “Has Christ been Divided?” taken from 1 Corinthians 1:13.

This event is put on every year by the Catholic Church through its Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Many denominations participate including nondenominational, evangelical fundamental, and mainline churches.

You may want to go to the council’s page to learn how, in 1999, the main issue dividing Protestants and Catholics during the Protestant Reformation was all but resolved. You can find that document entitled, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification here:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

There are some within the reformed traditions that still do not feel that grace over works is as complete in this document as they would like to see it spelled out. I don’t believe they have joined in the discussion, however.

In light of that fact, please allow me some latitude if I say something rather frank. While many Protestants may not yet want to join in these discussions on unity due to their inherent distrust of the Catholic Church, sometimes you wonder if there is something more to it than that.

Yes. It is true that once the Bible became available in the local language and our Protestant ancestors finally got to read what it actually said about salvation, they were burned at the stake or driven out of their Catholic congregations and countries for simply acting on their consciences. So, sure, the prejudice that was justified at that time. They learned their lesson well. As a matter of fact, we wouldn’t have public education in this country if it were not for their diligence to teach people to read the Bible in their effort to insure them against such deception again. However, holding these offenses against this present day church would be like the Native Americans blaming all white people and this present government for what happened to their ancestors.

Prejudice is never easy to over come, no matter how justified it was. But the Catholic Church has made many strides over the past century particularly within the last fifty years or so to build up that trust again. So one wonders if those not willing to engage in these discussions towards unity are simply because they enjoyed holding the moral high ground against their enemy? Some people don’t know how to disengage from the struggle, do they? We need to pray for God to heal their hearts and open their eyes.

Coming from Pilgrim ancestors and marrying into a Catholic family who rejected me when the Holy Spirit had me act according to my conscience, I will always remain prayerfully vigilant, ever educated, and watchful for all signs of deception. So I am even more surprised by this call by the Holy Spirit upon my heart towards unity as anyone.

Not only that, but He has actually given me a hunger for the Eucharist and Catholic television! I feel the need to learn more and all I can do is obey the Spirit’s leading to find out why. Of course the Eucharist is the very symbol of Christian unity and purity, so I do understand that. And the Catholic Church understands the Bride of Christ symbolism and did not buy into the Cessationist doctrine. So I do feel a kinship there. But I can’t help but feel the heart of God bleeding for the children who think they cannot have as close of a relationship to God as their priest can. He longs to break them free of that bondage and isolation.

Nevertheless, I am learning that the doctrines are not as off as I thought they once were. Would I pray to saints or Mary? No. I still feel that Jesus should not have any attention drawn from Him nor any mediator between us and our Father but Christ. However, I do enjoy hearing about how the “saints” coped in their walks with God. I love the history and being attached to a church that was once so predominant. But do I fault them for praying to the saints and Mary. Not really. Not any more. If they were here, you could ask them to pray for you. So why should that stop in heaven? But I don’t need that. I believe that sort of thinking keeps people bound to a defeated sense of self, like they are weak and so unworthy of their Father’s undivided attention, rather than helping them to rise up to be the kings and priests they were destined to be.

So, I will always differ with the Catholics on those things. But that’s okay. I am not better than them and I fully expect them to teach me more on their rich perspective as time goes on.

You can learn more about the Pope’s council on unity here:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/

To find out more about the activities and how to pray specifically check this page out:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/weeks-prayer-doc/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20130528_week-prayer-2014_en.html

Keep in mind that you are not restricted to only celebrate and pray on these dates. As a matter of fact, the desire is that prayer and meditation as well as action towards Christian unity be advanced in everyone’s lives throughout the year.

God bless!

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© Tracey Nelson, M.Ed.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by The Spotless Bride Ministries.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Tracey Nelson, M.Ed., author Accelerated Transformation , © Oct. 3, 2014 Website: The Spotless Bride Blog; (Some images, songs, & videos not owned by author).

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