The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU) has been observed since 1908, with a focus on praying for the unity of the Church. The WPCU is traditionally celebrated from 18 January, starting with the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair, and concluding on 25 January with the Feast of St. Paul's Conversion. This year, The Universal Church has chosen the theme: “You shall love the Lord Your God… and Your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10: 27).
On Thursday, 25 January 2024, at 7.30 pm, the Church of St. Thomas in Kuantan held a liturgical service to end the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Around 30 members from neighbouring churches in Kuantan City - including five Pastors - and approximately 60 of our Parishioners, gathered together to celebrate unity, followed by a fellowship.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity aims to unite all of us, realising our one mission of Christ in a unique way, despite the diversity of gifts. As Christians, we have the common mission to spread the Good News and be missionaries wherever we are. Our daily interactions with family, co-workers, customers and friends should reflect God’s glory and love. Pope Francis views the diversity present in the Church as a gift which creates a harmonious “symphony” of voices or sounds towards a common goal of peace and harmony.
Some time ago, I watched an interview on TV with a famous singer - P. Suseela from India’s Kollywood Film industry - and she talked about her experience of recording songs. In the old days, she had to sing in front of an entire orchestra with many musicians. If anyone made a mistake, they had to redo the entire recording. However, with advanced technology of gadgets and instruments, they can now make corrections immediately and edit the track. She gave an example - when two people sing a duet, they don’t need to be physically present together. They can record their parts at different times and then blend them together to make a song.
If you have ever been to a live orchestra performance, you would know how exciting it is to listen to musicians play different parts of the same instrument, coming together to create an incredible harmony that makes the music truly exceptional. However, it is not easy for everyone to play their own music and instrument simultaneously, and create a perfect musical harmony. In fact, an orchestra requires a conductor to ensure synchronisation; that everyone plays on time, and stays in tune. A conductor’s skill brings unity and uniqueness to the orchestra.
God values the act of bringing His people together to worship Him. While unity is important, diversity is also highly valued as we are all united in Christ. As a body has many parts but still functions as one, so it is with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). The WPCU allows us to come together as Christians, and experience the Lord’s presence in various ways. Let us strive for greater unity and heal the divisions in our churches - becoming one orchestra, creating peace and harmony in our churches.