20 to 23 Jan 2020
I am grateful to the Archdiocesan Catholic Council for Ecumenical Dialogue (ACCED) for taking the initiative to bring us together annually to pray for Christian unity. Every year, I look forward to this sacred time when I am inspired and enriched by our siblings from the traditions of the various Christian denominations.
This year, the theme was “Unusual Kindness”, which was how the Apostle Paul and his fellow shipwreck survivors described the hospitality shown by the islanders of Malta towards them (Acts 28:2). Toa Payoh MC, Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Mar Thomas Syrian Church and Church of the Holy Cross were the host churches.
The liturgy was meaningfully crafted and articulated. The host pastor read: “Divisions among Christians have existed for many centuries. This causes great pain and is contrary to God’s will. We believe in the power of prayer. Together with Christians all over the world, we offer our prayers as we seek to overcome separation.” Then we confessed our sins, listened to God’s Word, affirmed our common faith using the Apostles’ Creed and offered our prayers to God.
Our Lord Jesus prayed that we might be “ONE” (John 17:11). We have been entrusted with a gospel of peace and reconciliation for Jesus Christ is our peace who has broken down every wall (Eph 2:14). As Christians, we are both evangelical and ecumenical, akin to an eagle’s two wings, without which we cannot fly.
Together, we appreciate the beauty of unity in diversity.
Together, we build bridges of friendship and tear down man-made walls.
Together, we overcome our prejudices and see the many-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit manifesting in our faith community.
Together, we call out pride, bigotry and superior attitude which are divisive and anti-community.
Together, we resist the temptation to be provincial and parochial.
Together, we move from exclusiveness to inclusiveness.
Together, we seek to build the kingdom and kin-dom (kinship) of God and not our own religious empire.
Together we choose the power of love instead of the love for power.
When we are ONE, the world will believe that God did send His Son. (John 17:21)
“I am delighted that Protestants and Roman Catholics are coming together to pray and fellowship.”—Dr Lim K Tham, former general secretary of National Council of Churches of Singapore
The Rev Gabriel Liew is a pastor of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.
Photo courtesy of Stephen Fong.