“We saw the star in the east, and we came to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2)
The week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an international Christian ecumenical observance which takes place in the week between Ascension and Pentecost.
Christians from many different traditions around the world will gather to pray for the unity of the Church. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2022 has been prepared by the churches of the Middle East, the history of which was and still is characterised by conflict and strife, injustice and oppression.
This year’s text for the week of Christian Unity comes from the Gospel of Matthew and the story of the Magi following the star that shone in the east to worship the baby Jesus, the revelation of God and saviour of the world. Following a star is an ancient means of navigation. A star guides us to a place that is our destination. A star is light in the dark sky, all symbolic of Christ as light to the world.
In Australia, the Southern Cross is the constellation imprinted on our flag, with historical significance through the working class struggles of the Eureka stockade and cultural significance for the indigenous people of Australia. How many of us as little children looked up into the night sky to find the Southern Cross, the Big Dipper and other patterns formed by the stars and planets? In the magnitude of the night sky, the Southern Cross provides us with a reference point amidst the greatness of creation. It too points us to Jesus, the one who redeems us all and enables us to rise to new life both now and evermore.
We are invited to unite and pray and work together so that we can build a future in which all human beings can experience life, peace, justice and love.
By Kate Baines