1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Good News Translation
Blessings in Christ
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
I always give thanks to my God for you because of the grace he has given you through Christ Jesus. For in union with Christ you have become rich in all things, including all speech and all knowledge. The message about Christ has become so firmly established in you that you have not failed to receive a single blessing, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be faultless on the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is to be trusted, the God who called you to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.
What a joyful recognition of the delight in being together as God’s family. Paul expresses the love in Christ that is so meaningful in drawing us together ecumenically. The Whole Body of Christ offers relationship, connection and belonging. Significantly, it recognises the different missional roles we each have as individuals and as denominational Churches as we live out our ministries. The diversity across our ecumenical community is a delight and something to celebrate. Too often our human practices focus on making everyone and everything the same, and abhorring differences. Jesus’ prayer ‘that they may be one’ is a prayer of love. It is evocative through love, that what could be seen as dissonance, becomes a recognition of diversity in the body of Christ. Further, of our delighting in our diversity as the whole people of God, because God loves us, sees us, knows us and calls us all God’s children. Paul reminds us that God will keep us firm, is to be trusted, and calls us to share in fellowship/friendship with and through Jesus.
With such an unusual year in 2020, the strength and friendship we have in our ecumenical community has been expressed through pastoral support, creative problem solving, sharing resources, and finding new ways forward together. While we celebrate it at different times in our traditions, in this new Church Year, let us continue to be receptive to each other, to seek to know more about each other, to see Christ at work in each of our communities, and in all our loving, being, thinking and doing, live in the Way of Christ, together as God’s family.
Rev Anne Hewitt
Prayer of Unity
Loving Sustainer and Comforter,
We hear your call to be ‘as One’ in your family,
to grow in our appreciation of the fullness of the whole body of Christ.
We wish to move from dissonance to delighting in our diverse expression,
to seek to understand and work collegially, loving each other as neighbours and family.
Draw us into this new year with hope.
Let our celebration this Christmastide be the advent of a new warmth and togetherness,
as we walk on a shared pathway, in support and with unity.
Rev Anne Hewitt