Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Week of Prayer

Texas is, as you know, the Lone Star state. So, it seemed peculiar to many people that their NHL hockey team is the Dallas Stars. A plural in a singular lone-star-state. Yet, the Dallas Star hockey franchise simply sounds wrong. Let’s not even get into why the Toronto Maple Leafs are not the Maple Leaves. (Even my spell-checker agrees on that one.)

The Greek city of Corinth has a football (soccer) team simply known as the Corinth Football Club, rather than the Corinth Leathers, or some other pluralization of something that’s naturally singular.

The Christians in Corinth had a problem that Paul was addressing in his letter to them. Their community was being subdivided in ways that proved particularly unhelpful. Some members were identifying with one leader over another and presuming that it was better to have been baptized by Paul or whomever.

Their community was being hampered by this unnatural division. There were, after all, one body. Paul encouraged them to remember that, “all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.”

The Week of Christian Unity is an opportunity to celebrate those things that Christians have in common. The various Churches may have different styles of worship or emphasize different parts of the Gospel, but we still hold our faith in Christ Jesus in common. And none of us can ignore his prayer for our unity (John 17:21).

This year the theme for the Week is Crossing Barriers. ­The material for 2017 was prepared for worldwide use by the churches in Germany based around the verses 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 (so we are ambassadors for Christ). There was the annual prayer breakfast on January 21 and the concluding service will be held on January 29 at St. Mark and St. Columba Presbyterian Church, at 7:00 p.m.

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