Dr Theodora Issa, St Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Church, Perth, Western Australia, Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, reflected on the type of justice that restores communion.
“God calls for a justice that upholds the basic human rights to which all people are entitled,” she said. “This is the justice that we, as Christians, are called to promote.”
Division, including that between Christians, always has sin at its roots, added Issa. “God calls us to act out of the truth that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institutional structure is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of each person,” she said. “Jesus has won a decisive victory over injustice and division, and as Christians our task is to receive this victory, firstly in our own hearts through prayers and secondly in our own lives through action.”
Issa also urged the pursuit of unity year round, not only during the Week of Prayer or Christian Unity. “May we never lose heart but continue to ask in prayer for God's gift of unity, and may we manifest this unity in our lives,” she said.
Each year ecumenical partners in a different region are asked to prepare the materials. The Minnesota Council of Churches, based in the USA, was the convener for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 drafting group.
Christians from Minnesota developed the the resources with input from an international group representing the Roman Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Church’s Faith and Order Commission.
The resources include an ecumenical opening prayer service, biblical reflections and prayers for eight days, and other elements of worship.
For the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 in Southern Hemisphere, series of reflective videos has been compiled based on the resources provided by World Council of Churches. Efforts of the churches to come up with the prayers for the eight days were coordinated by Simone Micke, secretary of the Council of Churches of Western Australia.