Day 7 – Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity 2011
Day 7 – Living in Resurrection Faith
Isaiah 60: 1-3 . 18-22 You shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates, Praise
Psalm: 118:1. 5-17 I shall not die, but I shall live
Roman 6: 3-11 …we have been buried with Christ by baptism into death…so we too might walk in newness of life
Matthew 28:1-10 Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid…
The first Christians’ devotion to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of the bread and the prayers was made possible, above all, by the living power of the Risen Jesus. This power is living still, and today’s Jerusalem Christians witness to this. Whatever the difficulties of the present situation in which they find themselves – however much it feels like Gethsemane and Golgotha -they know in faith that all is made new by the truth of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
The light and hope of the Resurrection changes everything. As Isaiah prophesies, it is the transformation of darkness into light; it is an enlightening for all peoples. The power of the Resurrection shines out from Jerusalem, the place of the Lord’s Passion, and draws all nations to its brightness. This is a new life, in which violence is put aside, and security found in salvation and praise.
In the Psalm we are given words to celebrate the central Christian experience of passing from death to life. This is the abiding sign of God’s steadfast love. This passing from the terrors of death into new life is the defining reality of all Christians. For, as St. Paul teaches, we have, in baptism, entered into the tomb with Christ, and been raised with Him. We have died with Christ, and live to share his risen life. And so we can see the world differently – with compassion, patience, love and hope; for, in Christ the present struggles can never be the whole story. Even as divided Christians, we know that the baptism that unites us is a bearing of the Cross in the light of the Resurrection.
For the Christian Gospel this resurrection life is not some mere concept or helpful idea; it is rooted in a vivid event in time and space. It is this event we hear recounted in the Gospel reading with great humanity and drama. From Jerusalem the Risen Lord sends greetings to His disciples across the ages, calling us to follow Him without fear. He goes ahead of us.
God, Protector of the widow, the orphan and the stranger – in a world where many know despair, you raised your Son Jesus to give hope for humanity and renewal to the earth. Continue to strengthen and unify your Church in its struggles against the forces of death in the world, where violence against creation and humanity obscures the hope of the new life you offer. This we pray in the name of the Risen Lord, in the power of His Spirit. Amen.