As we are brought again to a New Year and to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which has become so central to the calendar of church life for these many years, we are thankful yet again to be challenged by the Lord to follow the path toward the unity of the Christian churches to which he has called us. We can hardly do less than be grateful in prayer, dialogue and service to the unity that is given us in Christ and to the challenges before us to overcome prejudice against fellow Christians, divisions among the churches, and animosity in the hearts of any Christians towards others.
God requires much from those to whom much has been given. Certainly we are required to pray for one another, with one another and for the unity of the Church. In this 2013 year, God requires us to pray for displaced Christians and peoples: in war torn places where the refugees will need hospitality; in Libya, Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt where Christians are experiencing marginalization; in the United States where immigrants from around the globe are seeking hospitality; in Europe where formerly Christian nations are hospitable to peoples of other religions and in areas of Asia and Africa where minorities are experiencing discrimination.
God requires of us to reach out to fellow Christians, especially those we least understand, to learn how they think and feel. Much public incivility, both within the church, among the churches in civil society demonstrate the requirement of dialogue that God places before us as Christians. While there are no simple Christian solutions to disagreements on war and peace, human sexuality, economic policy, or the roles of government, there is God's requirement of dialogue, Jesus' prayer for unity, and the Spirit's empowerment for us to better understand one another in service to the unity of the Gospel and to the reconciliation of the human family.
What Does God Require of US? God requires prayer and mutual support. God requires a zeal for the unity of all Christians. God requires a spirituality of dialogue and trust that places faith in the Triune God above nation, race, political party, or particular interpretations of the Scripture and natural law. God requires of us faith in the call to visible unity among all Christians. God requires of us care for one another, for the whole human community, and indeed for all of creation.