It is a joy, and it is also our duty, to come together to pray for the unity of the church. We are delighted to welcome the churches of Geneva to this service of worship and celebration in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre.
There is an experience of fellowship which teaches us unity.
There is a humility in prayer which opens up the way for peace.
There is a simplicity in sharing which brings about reconciliation.
There is an openness in learning which brings about change.
There is a joy in breaking bread which brings about justice.
The churches in today’s Jerusalem invite Christians throughout the world to read, reflect and pray on this challenging and beautiful passage from the Acts of the Apostles. I have had the honour of coming to know the churches of Jerusalem in our day, and heads of the churches of Jerusalem, including Bishop Munib Younan who serves as president of the Lutheran World Federation. In compelling and moving terms the Week of Prayer text for this year describes the original oneness of those early believers in Jesus. Being one means being together, breaking bread, praising God, but also giving and sharing, according to who is in need.
One striking image that comes through is that the apostles are together sharing around the table. That image of table sharing gives great spiritual energy to our ecumenical endeavours.
Yet as we read it today nearly 2000 years later this passage also challenges us. This is not an abstract philosophical text, nor one that can only have spiritual meaning.
It challenges us to reconsider how we witness to and live out our faith with generous hearts.
It calls our comfortable existence into question.