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January 19, 2007

'O Lord, open my eyes'

That’s the opening of one of the prayers chosen as a resource for our celebrations of the 2007 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Say, what?

You, too, didn’t know about this annual, ecumenical event sponsored jointly by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity? It began yesterday, and I confess that the only reason I learned about it is that an e-newsletter from Faith & Values Media, New Morning Daybook,” was delivered to my in-box yesterday with this week as its lead story. But I feel bad that in the work-a-day world, even here at the ELCA, what should be a matter of utmost care to us as Christian people—our prayer that we, together in our differences, live as Christ’s body for the sake of the world—goes almost unnoticed.

O Lord, open my eyes. Indeed!

Maybe, if you’ve got some time, you’ll look at these resources for worship, prayer and song that were prepared this year by an ecumenical group in South Africa on the theme of March 7:31-37, beginning “He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.” Bless you, if you have...and if you do.

But if not, maybe you’ll have a moment to join in this one prayer, from the Shona people of Zimbabwe:

O Lord, open my eyes
that I may see the need of others,
open my ears that I may hear their cries,
open my heart so that they need not be without succour.

Let me not be afraid to defend the weak
because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor,
because of the anger of the rich.

Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to these places.

Open my eyes and ears that I may, this coming day,
be able to do some work of peace for you.

And let the people, all the people, say, Amen!

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