Mid Week Reflection – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

“We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him.” 

The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2022 was chosen by the Middle East Council of Churches. More than ever, in these difficult times, we need a light that shines in the darkness and that light, Christians proclaim, has been manifested in Jesus Christ.

Christians are called to be a sign to the world of God bringing about unity. Drawn from different cultures, races and languages, Christians share in a common search for Christ and a common desire to worship him. (World Council of Churches)

It is good to be reminded that we are part of something far larger than our local church or denomination. We are a diverse group of people who express our faith through worship in different ways, our culture, race and language help build up and create the blocks that build up our worship. They may be the blocks but they are not the foundation, the foundation is wider and deeper than all the building blocks of worship, our foundation is Christ.

We are a diverse group, we only have to look at our own families. At one level, there is the choice and tastes in music, art, food, dress and so on. We may raise our eyebrows, shrug our shoulders and smile at them. At a deeper level we may have family members who see the world in a different way to us and respond differently to what they experience in life. Their response to situations may puzzle, confuse, worry or even disturb us but we still love them, for as followers of Jesus, that is what we are called to do. It is not always easy, love can be hard and sometimes we need to put space between us and our loved ones but we still love them.

We are not all the same and we do have to learn to live with the diversity that surrounds us. If this is the case in our daily lives we should not be surprised that it is present within the Christian Church worldwide but also within our own worshipping communities.

* Centre panel of the mural International Understanding and Unity.
(Pennsylvania State Capitol Senate building)

The woman in blue is a female impersonation of the Waters of Life from whom flows the sacred waters to nourish all the world. She also is making reference to female suffrage.
An inscription is inscribed on the panel with a passage from the Apocalypse:

“He carried me away to a great and high mountain and shewed me the Great City and he shewed me a pure river of Water of Life as crystal proceeding out of the throne.” (Revelation 22:1)


Recognising our diversity but also our need to understand and to work toward unity let us follow the star and worship Him.

O God,
who by the leading of a star
manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
mercifully grant that we,
who know you now by faith,
may at last behold your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Magi Visit the Messiah (Matthew 2: 1-12)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

“Lord, we thank you
For those who have helped us on our journey
that led to you.
Lord, we worship you
For lighting our path through chaos and doubt
by your Holy Spirit.”

With faith and confidence, we come in prayer, before God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

The Magi came from the East to pay homage and to offer gifts from their cultures and countries. We pray today for Christian communities throughout the world in their diversity of worship and tradition: Lord, preserve these treasures, particularly in areas where the presence and survival of the Church is threatened by violence and oppression.
Lord hear our prayer

The early years of the Lord’s life were marked by massacres at the orders of the despot Herod. We pray for children living in places in the world where violence continues. Lord, inspire us to work without ceasing to defend the oppressed and include the marginalized.
Lord hear our prayer

After the visit of the Magi, the holy family had to flee and became refugees in the land of Egypt. We pray for all uprooted people: Equip us Lord, to show hospitality to those driven from their homes, and grant us the spirit of welcome to those looking for a safe haven.
Lord hear our prayer

The birth of Jesus was announced as good news for all humanity. We pray for our efforts to seek harmony and dialogue with other faiths: Lord, give us humility and patience to walk with others with respect.
Lord hear our prayer

The Magi returned to their home by a different way. Lord, help us to find new and creative ways to follow you and to witness to you so that the world may believe.
Lord hear our prayer

Creator of the heavens,
who led the Magi by a star
to worship the Christ-child:
guide and sustain us,
that we may find our journey’s end
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

As we open up the treasure of our giftedness and put it at the service of the Body of Christ, let us pray that God’s Kingdom will come and God’s will be done:

The Lord’s Prayer . . .

Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen. Thanks be to God.

Derek Akker
(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James)

Collects – Liturgy © Common Worship, The Archbishops Council, 2000 – Prayers from the World Council of Churches
Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold)
In the Diocese of Manchester
CCLI Licence Number 1243418 Church Copyright and Streaming Licence



Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Public domain – Violet Oakley (June 10, 1874 – February 25, 1961)