January 2010 - Vol. 36

Jesus On the Cross, by Andreas Felger,1987

.Prayers for Christian Unity

Christians ought at all times to be making contributions 
towards reunion, if it is only by their prayers – C.S. Lewis

A reflection on the need to pray and work for Christian unity, written by C.S. Lewis, a prolific Christian author, and member of the Church of England, who died on January 22, 1963

The time is always ripe for reunion. Divisions between Christians are a sin and a scandal, and Christians ought at all times to be making contributions towards reunion, if it is only by their prayers. I am only a layman and a recent Christian, and I do not know much about these things, but in all the things which I have written and thought I have always stuck to traditional dogmatic positions. The result is that letters of agreement reach me from what are ordinarily regarded as the most different kinds of Christians; for instance, I get letters from Jesuits, monks, nuns, and also from Quakers and Welsh Dissenters, and so on. So it seems to me that the 'extremist' elements in every church are nearest one another...

[quote from The Grand Miracle, and Other Selected Essays on Theology and Ethics from God in the Dock, by C.S. Lewis, Random House, 1970]
Jesus' high priestly prayer for unity 
from the Gospel of John, Chaper 17:20-23
I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 
that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, 
that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 
The glory which you have given me I have given to them, 
that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, 
that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you 
have sent me and have loved them even as  you have loved me. 
 The early church's prayer for unity
from the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (Didache)
an early church manual written around 90 AD 

Think of your church, O Lord. Free it from all evil and perfect it in your love. Assemble it from the four winds, and having sanctified it, lead it to the kingdom which you have prepared for it. For yours is the power and the glory for all eternity.

Prayer for unity in the bond of peace and love
Liturgy of St Mark, used in Alexandria, dating from the 2nd century

O Soverign and almighty Lord, bless all your people, and all your flock. Give your peace, your help, your love to us your servants, the sheep of your fold, that we may be united in the bond of peace and love, one body and one spirit, in one hope of our calling, in your divine and boundless love.

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