By Bob Merikangas
As in previous years, Christian residents of Riderwood can celebrate the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18 – 25. Information about the theme for 2018 is provided on the website of Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, but here are some selected points. The theme, “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power,” is taken from the book of Exodus 15:6. The resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by the churches of the Caribbean by an ecumenical team of women and men under the leadership of His Grace Kenneth Richards, Catholic Archbishop of Kingston, the Antilles Episcopal Conference, together with Mr. Gerard Granado, General Secretary of the Caribbean Conference of Churches.
We are told that today Caribbean Christians of many different traditions see the hand of God active in the ending of enslavement. It is a uniting experience of the saving action of God, which brings freedom. They see that the right hand of God that brought the people out of slavery, gave continued hope and courage to the Israelites, as it continues to bring hope to the Christians of the Caribbean. In witnessing to this common hope, the churches are working together to minister to all peoples of the region, but particularly the most vulnerable and neglected. In the words of the hymn, “the right hand of God is planting in our land, planting seeds of freedom, hope and love.” Those of us in the United States can connect our praying with the situation and hopes of the peoples in the Caribbean
The meditations for each day give Americans reflections on our issues, such as discrimination, human trafficking, murders and domestic abuse, domination and oppression, and the disunity of churches, which should be “a united covenanted people.”
This year copies of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Daily Scripture & Prayer Guide will again be in the Pastoral Ministries office, but there will be no scheduled prayer gatherings in the chapel. Instead, residents will be free to use the Guide personally in their apartments or in the chapel, or to meet with neighbors in a location of their choosing to share the readings and to pray and dialogue together, on the days and at the times of their choosing. In January, Riderwood residents can also check the news and other sources to find about celebrations for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in this area and around the world.