Week Of Prayer For Christian Unity 2016

Devotional

Let the stone be rolled away

Commentary

Today’s reflections are prepared by the Catholic Youth Centre of the Archdiocese of Rīga, and spring from their experience of organising an Ecumenical Way of the Cross: a very influential annual ecumenical event in the life of Latvia. This experience prompts reflection on what the passion and resurrection mean in the Latvian context, and what are the Lord’s mighty acts that baptised Christians are called to proclaim.

  • Latvia’s Soviet history continues to cast a shadow over the people of this nation. There is still much grief and pain; wounds inflicted which are difficult to forgive. All of this is like the large stone which covered the mouth of Jesus’ tomb. Wounds such as these imprison us in a spiritual grave.
  • But if, in our suffering, our pain is united to his pain, then the story does not end here, locked in our graves. The earthquake of the Lord’s resurrection is the earth-shaking event that opens our graves and frees us from the pain and bitterness that hold us in isolation from one another.
  • This is the mighty act of the Lord: his love, which shakes the earth, which rolls away the stones, which frees us, and calls us out into the morning of a new day. Here, at this new dawn we are re-united with our brothers and sisters who have been imprisoned and hurting too. And like Mary Magdalene we must “go quickly” from this great moment of joy to tell others what the Lord has done.

Questions

  • What are the events and the situations of our lives and the circumstances that make us lock ourselves in the grave – in sadness, grief, worries, anxiety and despair? What keeps us from accepting the promise and joy of the resurrection of Christ?
  • How ready are we to share the experience of God with those whom we meet?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you have always loved us from the beginning, and you have shown the depth of your love in dying for us on the cross and thereby sharing our sufferings and wounds. At this moment, we lay all the obstacles that separate us from your love at the foot of your cross. Roll back the stones which imprison us. Awaken us to your resurrection morning. There may we meet the brothers and sisters from whom we are separated. Amen.

A brochure with additional resources is available on the website of the World Council of Churches: www.oikoumene.org/week-of-prayer.