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Friday, 13 January 2012


Been thinking about the week of prayer for Christian unity, which is a global event that happens about a week from now. I’m leading the service that Sunday and want to include something meaningful. So this morning, as I entered the bedroom, Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’ had just started and the speaker was describing a painting of some of the disciples weeping over the body of Christ.

What a perfect visual image of the week of prayer for Christian unity! Must try to find that painting online today, though to be honest, there are probably dozens under similar titles painted in medieval times, looking very renaissance.

In so far as the Church is the Body of Christ on earth, there is much to weep over. 

We weep for our persecuted brothers and sisters in so many countries where it is dangerous to follow Jesus. Places like Nigeria, where a Sunday morning church service can turn into a massacre. Or Iran, where following Christ can give rise to a charge of apostasy and earn you the death sentence. Or North Korea, where harsh labour camps await those who profess belief in any higher being other than the ruler.

We weep for the Church divided over issues of our time. Women in leadership. The ordination of people in same-sex relationships. Israel-Palestine. Pontius Pilate didn’t recognize Truth when He stood right in front of him. We pray that we might be given eyes to recognize Truth, and humility to accept it and change our firmly held opinions.

We weep for the Church divided over the conduct of worship services. Guitars or organ. Amplified or acoustic. Standing still and following a liturgy, or waving hands, dancing, clapping for the Lord. We pray that we might recognize the diversity of creation itself and allow each other to express their love for God in a way meaningful for them.

We pray for the Church broken over denominational doctrines. Splitting hairs. Refusing to meet together. Losing sight of the basic beliefs that matter. Jesus is the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary who died on the cross for us, and was resurrected to sit at the right hand of the Father, and who sends the Holy Spirit to help us to live lives of integrity and commitment, and to work for justice and peace, and to live in love.

We weep for the Church divided over resource issues. How to develop outdated church buildings so that they can serve the community in which they are placed, without trashing the memory of those who gave sacrificially to build what is now falling down. How to use the resources we have to serve not ourselves, but those in our communities. How to allocate the money that comes in through weekly giving so that it builds the Kingdom of God here and now. 

We pray for the broken body of Christ, the Church, that she might rise up one day as the bride of Christ.

Your Kingdom come. Your will be done. May we all weep over the Body of Christ until it is re-born.

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