What comes to mind when you think about Jerusalem? I immediately think about Jesus, the Apostles and what occured in Jerusalem -the Passion of Christ, His Resurrection and the birth of the Church. And so the name – Mother Church!
From the Mother Church in Jerusalem a call for unity to churches worldwide is echoed.
The Christian communities have begun a week of prayer on January 22nd and will continue through the 30th. Each evening; Christians will gather in various churches; Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Ethiopian, Syriac Orthodox and others to pray. The theme of the prayer week is “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread“.
I remember when Tom and I participated several years ago. Standing next to Greek Orthodox, Coptics, Protestant and fellow Roman Catholics as we prayed for unity and for peace among all in the Holy Land and throughout the universal church gave me hope! It prompted us to see each other first as a child of God.
Why should we be united in prayer with the Mother Church? The answer is well given from the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem: “The succession of the church comes through continuity with the first Christian community of Jerusalem. The Church of Jerusalem in apostolic times is linked with the heavenly Church of Jerusalem, which in turn becomes the icon of all Christian churches. The present Church of Jerusalem lives in continuity with the apostolic Church of Jerusalem particularly in its costly witness to the truth. Its witness to the gospel and its struggles against inequality and injustice reminds us that prayer for Christian unity is inseparable from prayer for peace and justice.”
They also ask that we remember them in their dire situation and pray for justice that will bring true peace in the Holy Land.
We have heard people tell us – “There will never be peace in the Holy Land!” Our response must be that of faith and hope! If we don’t respond, then we too, will fall into a lax attitude toward our brothers and sisters in Christ that will contribute to their diminishing numbers!
We invite you to join us in praying the following prayer given to us from Jerusalem:
Almighty and Merciful God, with great power you gathered together the first Christians in the city of Jerusalem, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, defying the earthly power of the Roman empire. Grant that, like this first church in Jerusalem, we may come together to be bold in preaching and living the good news of reconciliation and peace, wherever there is inequality and injustice. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who liberates us from the bondage of sin and death. Amen.