Canon Isaac Delamere, Rector of Tullamore Union of Parishes, Co Offaly, Ireland (Africa Magazine January/February 2023)
"…As we approach Christian Unity Week we are mindful of Jesus’ greatest desire that we ‘would be one’ (John 17:21). I firmly believe that the more we connect with the earth and allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit the more we will experience a greater sense of that unity which is God’s desire for us.
Through reconnecting with the earth we discover our shared origin and destiny, a common homeland. We become aware of our humanity, a shared humanity. We discover that we are all connected as God’s people. It makes no difference what version of Christianity we profess. Once we recognise this then we can no longer turn our backs on the cry of the earth for us to protect it and the cries of its peoples for justice. The prophet Isaiah says that we should “learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed and plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). We have seen changing weather patterns this summer throughout Europe, the UK, and the USA, signs that we need to seriously address climate change. For too long we have happily ignored the suffering that climate change has caused in faraway developing countries, but now it is an issue for us too. We need to recognise that all of our lives are connected and that if my brother and sister is experiencing the effects of climate change then I have a responsibility to address this and to strive for climate justice.
As churches we face many challenges, however one of them is clear. The Spirit of God is certainly moving us to become more ecologically aware. I feel in many respects that the Spirit is ahead of us on this issue and that we are desperately trying to play catch up. We need to see ecological awareness as part of our call to discipleship and as an important dimension of our mission today. In doing so we will be more connected with the earth, with ourselves, with our fellow Christians and ultimately with God. "
For the complete programme for the Week of Prayer visit the website of the World Council of Churches:
Or download the booklet here: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023
Reflections for each day
January 18th, DAY 1: Learning to do the right thing
Is 1:12-18 Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan; plead for the widow.
Lk 10:25-36 He asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
Lord, you called your people from slavery into freedom,
Give us strength and courage to seek out those who are standing in need of justice. Allow us to see this need and provide help, and through your Holy Spirit gather us into the one fold of Jesus Christ, our Shepherd. Amen.
January 19th, DAY 2: When justice is done…
Prov 21:13-15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers.
Mt 23:23-25 Justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done.
God, you are the source of our wisdom. We pray for wisdom and courage to do justice,
to respond to what is wrong in the world by acting to make it right;
We pray for wisdom and courage to grow in the unity of your Son, Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, reigns forever and ever. Amen.
January 20th, DAY 3: Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly
Mic 6: 6 – 8 And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Mk 10: 17-31 Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?
Gracious and loving God,
Expand our vision that we might see the mission we share with all of our Christian brothers and sisters, to show forth the justice and loving kindness of your kingdom.
Help us to welcome our neighbours as your Son welcomed us.
Help us to be more generous as we witness to the grace that you freely give us.
Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
January 21st, DAY 4: Look, the tears of the oppressed
Eccles 4:1-5 Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed – with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power with no one to comfort them.
Mt 5:1-8 …Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted…
God of justice and grace, remove the scales from our eyes so we can truly see the oppression around us.
We pray in the name of Jesus who saw the crowds and had compassion for them. Amen.
January 22nd, DAY 5: Singing the Lord’s song as strangers in the land
Ps 137:1-4 For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked us for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
Lk 23:27-31 Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
God of the oppressed,
Open our eyes to the harm that continues to be inflicted
On our sisters and brothers in Christ.
May your Spirit give us the courage to sing in unison,
And raise our voices with those whose suffering is unheard.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
January 23rd, DAY 6: Just as you did it to one of the least of these…you did it to me.
Ezek 34:15-20 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak.
Mt 25:31-40 I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
God of Love,
We thank you for your unending care and love for us.
Help us to sing redemption songs.
Open wide our hearts to receive your love
and to extend your compassion
to the whole of the human family.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
January 24th, DAY 7: ‘What is now does not have to be’
Job 5:11-16 So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.
Lk 1:46-55 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.
God of Hope,
Help us to remember that you are with us in our suffering.
Help us to embody hope for one another when hopelessness is a frequent unwelcomed guest in our hearts.
Grant us the gift of being grounded in your loving Spirit as we work together to eradicate all forms of oppression and injustice.
Give us the courage to love what, whom and how you love, and to express this love in our actions. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
January 25th, DAY 8: The justice that restores communion
Ps 82:1-4 Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Lk 18:1-8 Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?
God, Creator and Redeemer of all things,
teach us to look inward to be grounded in your loving Spirit,
so that we may go outward in wisdom and courage
to always choose the path of love and justice.
This we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.