10 Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue

posted Jan 9, 2019, 8:51 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 9, 2019, 8:52 AM ]

Christian Unity Week 2019

At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus' prayer for His disciples that "they may be one, so that the world may believe" (John 17:21). Hearts are touched, and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18-25. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson to cover the days between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul, and therefore have a symbolic significance. In the southern hemisphere where January is vacation time, churches often find other days to celebrate the Week of Prayer, for example around Pentecost (suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926), which is also a symbolic date for the unity of the Church.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019 has been prepared by Christians from Indonesia. The theme for the week of prayer in 2019, "Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue ..." is inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20. With a population of 265 million, 86% of whom are reckoned to be Muslim, Indonesia is well known as having the largest Muslim population of any country. However, about 10% of Indonesians are Christians from various traditions. In terms of both population and the vast extent of the country, Indonesia is the biggest nation in South East Asia. It has more than 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups and over 740 local languages, and yet is united in its plurality by one national language - Bahasa Indonesia.