By: Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington
From January 18-25, we will celebrate the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by reflecting on the theme “Reconciliation: The Love of Christ Compels Us” (cf., 2 Cor. 5:14-20). As this year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, our focus on reconciliation is all the more needful.
“We remember this anniversary,” said Pope Francis recently, “with a renewed spirit and in the recognition that Christian unity is a priority, because we realize that much more unites us than separates us. The journey we have undertaken to attain that unity is itself a great gift that God gives us” (Apostolic Journey to Sweden, Oct. 31, 2016).
If our hearts have grown cold or lukewarm to the call to Christian unity, may the words of our Lord and Savior ring anew in our ears: “That they may all be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (Jn. 17:21). May the love of Christ compel each of us to renew our active participation in this journey-this week and beyond.
Note: Bishop Burbidge will participate in an annual prayer service for Christian unity at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24, at Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, 1500 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, together with the Rt. Rev. Edwin Gulick Jr., Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia; Rev. Richard Graham, Bishop of Metropolitan Washington for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America; and Rev. Tom Joyce of the Virginia Conference of United Methodist Church. All are welcome.