Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 28, 2008
Unceasing prayer the path to unity
By ALICIA AMBROSIO
WCR Staff Writer
Only praying without ceasing can bring about Christian unity and change the city of Edmonton into a place of hope, says an ecumenical worker in the city.
The Rev. John Pasma, pastor of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton made the remark in a sermon Jan 20 at the ecumenical service held to mark the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
"There is nothing on the face of the earth that beats the fellowship of community. Community with each other and with God," he said.
Unceasing prayer does not mean Christians must be on their knees 24 hours a day, Pasma said. Instead it means being open to God's presence at every moment of the day.
Being constantly in God's presence is necessary, because Christian community does not happen because of human action, but because of what God does through people, he said.
"Prayer is the heart of Christian unity because it is the open door Christ uses to bring us his unity."
Pasma said prayer helps Christians realize that unity is the work of God and only the work of God. Prayer also helps Christians realize that the different denominations each have a different gift and because of that are dependent on each other.
"The Roman Catholics are more mystical, United Church is strong on social justice, Baptists are strong on the personal relationship, Pentecostals emphasize the Holy Spirit, the Reformed are good at integrating faith and knowledge. Through our gifts we complement each other and we move into a richer future as we connect with each other."
Pasma said that in his letter to the Thessalonians, St. Paul gave Christians specific instructions on how to bring about unity. He said that given a place of importance among all the other instructions, was the instruction to "pray without ceasing."
Just as God's work is the only thing that can change the human heart, the Gospel message is the only thing that can bring about a renewal that turns the city from "a place where evil often rules in the place of justice" into a place "where humankind can flourish; where people can become what they are supposed to become," Pasma said.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Edmonton runs Jan. 20 to 27.