Service for Christian Unity,
Thursday, March 31st, 2022
Open your heart
On the eve of his Passion, after having announced Peter’s denial, at the moment when history, “The church is one” said a 19th century Russian theologian. One, for the body of Christ cannot be divided. So, there is only one body, but it is torn apart, and the whole world unknowingly suffers from this wound. Beyond the theological controversies, which are always necessary, since the Bible asks us to have an “intelligent” heart, we have to find the way to our common heart. This common heart Christ made manifest in his death out of love for all men, and in his resurrection by his victory over the forces of darkness. “To open one’s heart”, would this not then be to enter into communion with all the disciples of Christ, perhaps even with the believers of all religions, and perhaps also with all men, in order to heal the wounds of the split from which the world suffers so much?
Extract from: Michel Evdokimov, Ouvrir son coeur, Desclée De Brouwer, 2004, pp. 151
Prepared by our brothers and sisters from Nantes.
To be used as appropriate
1 / About fifty people of all ages and all situations, currently follow the Alpha course which takes place within the parish ensemble of St Donatien, St François de Sales and Sainte Elisabeth in Nantes, recently entrusted to the Chemin Neuf Community. We praise you Lord for this beautiful journey, received from our Anglican brothers and we praise you for all the lives transformed by the encounter with Jesus Christ.
We entrust to You, Lord, the participants of this course and of all the Alpha courses that are currently taking place, in the parish, in prison, at the university or in the workplace, so that their intimacy with You may grow and that they may this year to welcome the Easter grace in a completely new way.
2/ In one and the same momentum of prayer, the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, the United Protestant Church and the Evangelical Churches of Loire-Atlantique gathered on Friday March 4, 2022 to pray together for Peace. This prayer was organized by the new initiative “Ecumenical Cooperation” which was set up at the call of the Bishop of Nantes, Mgr Percerou. It brings together communities and movements that have a vocation to Christian Unity.
Lord, we entrust to you the work of this group, their exchanges and their desire to pray together regularly. May the Holy Spirit strengthen the fraternity between all the Churches present and enlighten them on the initiatives to be proposed within the diocese of Nantes.
3/ On February 24, an appeal for peace in Ukraine was launched by the Council of Christian Churches in France (CECEF). It encourages all the Churches to demonstrate their concrete solidarity with the populations affected and to pray for peace and an immediate end to the conflict, inspired by the words of Saint Paul: “It is Christ, indeed, who is our peace: of what was divided he made a unity. In his flesh, he destroyed the wall of separation: hatred. (Ephesians 2:14)
Lord, give your peace to the two peoples of Russia and Ukraine. We entrust to you the political leaders and religious leaders of these two countries so that they hear the pleas of their peoples and choose the paths of peace. Help us to bring comfort to those who suffer and root us in prayer with renewed ardor so that the violence between these two peoples ceases and peace triumphs.