Faculty, staff, students and denominational partners gathered at Plymouth Congregational Church for the 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity regional service, January 22, 2015. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, our school’s Spehar-Halligan Visiting Professor for Ecumenical Collaboration in Interreligious Dialogue delivered message based on John 4.
Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Seattle, Washington
“You have no bucket and the well is deep” (John 4:11)
The green sloping lawn in front of the church on the corner teamed with people from all over the local community that summer Sunday morning as members of five churches in the Magnolia neighborhood gathered for worship. In the midst of the assembled seating rose the large baptismal font, empty and open to the sky. At the beginning of worship water from the churches of the five different denominations was brought from five directions to fill the font as a symbol of our unity in Christ. My Presbyterian colleague, Pastor Deb, used the words from the chapel of St. John Lateran to proclaim, “No barrier can divide where life unites: one faith, one fount, one spirit, makes one people!”
During Holy Communion our voices lifted in joy as we sang, “One bread, one body, one Lord of all; one cup of blessing which we bless. And we though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.” As one of the five pastors serving Holy Communion, a poignant interaction in the Communion line is etched in my memory: one of the elders from my parish tried to touch the water in the font as she walked by to receive bread and wine, but her cane kept getting in the way; a member of one of the other parishes saw her desire to reach the water and helped her do so.
The well is deep. It gushes up so that we might never be thirsty. And, often we need each other – be it loved one or stranger – to reach the Living Water of life. Our commitment to our common life may take other forms, yet our five churches are committed to ongoing dialogue, worship, fellowship and compassionate action in Christ’s name.
In closing that summer Sunday our combined voices rang out in song, “Let us bring the gifts that differ and in splendid varied way, sing a new Church into being, one in faith and love and praise.”
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Theme for the Day: TESTIMONY
Exodus 2:15-22 Moses at the well of Midian
Psalm 91 The song of those who take refuge in the Lord
1 John 4:16-21 Perfect love casts out fear
John 4:11-15 “A spring of water welling up to eternal life”
- How do you interpret Jesus’ words that through him we may become “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14)?
- Where do you see Christian people being springs of living water for you and for others?
- Which are the situations in public life to which the churches should speak with a single voice in order to be springs of living water?
School Cycle of Prayer:
We pray today for the Integration of Transformational Leadership for Justice I class taught by Sharon Callahan; Michael Trice, Assistant Dean; Hannah Crivello, staff; Irene DeMaris, graduate assistant; Kathleen Hosfeld and Sheila Houston, students.
following the example of Jesus,
make us witnesses to your love.
Grant us to become instruments of justice, peace and solidarity.
May your Spirit move us towards concrete actions that lead to unity.
May walls be transformed into bridges.
This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit.