Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (1415 West 7th Street, Frederick) is hosting a Day of Prayer for Christian Unity on Wednesday, January 25th from 6AM to 9PM. The sanctuary will be open for prayer during the entire period, with a host present in the narthex to monitor those coming in and out. Prayer guides and Bibles will also be available. There will be members of Good Shepherd in the sanctuary praying throughout the day and you are welcome to join us for five minutes, thirty minutes or more. This “Day of Prayer” is a part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – an annual celebration sponsored by both the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church. We wish to extend a special invitation to our ecumenical brothers and sisters in Christ to join us as we lift up Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21).
The theme of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us with the 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 as the biblical text. Each year ecumenical partners in a particular region are invited to produce the resources for the Week of Prayer. In light of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 the Council of Churches in Germany which includes Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches was asked to do this work for 2017. As the Reformation has been a controversial event for inter-church relations the materials have two accents: a celebration of God’s love and grace reflecting the main concern of the churches marked by Martin Luther’s Reformation and also a recognition of the pain and deep divisions which have afflicted the Church as a result of the Reformation.
Ultimately it was Pope Francis 2013 Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel” which provided the theme for this year, when it used the quote from 2 Corinthians 5:14 “The Love of Christ Compels Us.” Much difficult work and dialogue has happened in the 50 years leading up to this Reformation anniversary year. But thanks be to God, after centuries of mutual condemnations and vilifications, in 2017 Lutheran and Roman Catholic Christians will for the first time commemorate together the beginning of the Reformation. The “love of Christ compels us” all to pray for Christian unity and take steps towards true reconciliation.
For any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Good Shepherd (301-663-3344) or Pastor Mark Huffman (firstname.lastname@example.org).