Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
February 2, 2009
Ukrainians host Christian unity prayer service
Bishop Motiuk calls Christians to mission of reconciliation
WCR PHOTO | GLEN ARGAN
Several Edmonton Church leaders took part in the well-attended prayer service marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
BY GLEN ARGAN
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
Edmonton – Christians have a special responsibility to help overcome divisions in the world, says the head of Alberta’s 29,000 Ukrainian Catholics.
Christians are called to be reconciled in the Lord and to assume a role in creating peace and tranquility in the world, Bishop David Motiuk said Jan. 25 at a city-wide prayer service marking the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The Ukrainian Catholics hosted the annual event at St. Josaphat’s Cathedral, which drew more than 250 people.
The prayer service took the form of Byzantine Vespers with participants from United, Anglican, Lutheran, Ukrainian Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic churches helping to lead the prayer.
The St. Josaphat’s Cathedral Choir and Axios Men’s Choir sang many of the psalms and other prayers, most of them in English and some in Ukrainian, while the Korean United Church Choir sang two hymns in Korean.
Money raised in the collection will be used to provide housing for the homeless.
Churches in Korea developed the 2009 prayer service and its theme, That They May Become One in Your Hand based on Ezekiel 37.17.
That theme focuses on Ezekiel’s prophecy of two sticks being joined into one.
For the Koreans, it was a symbol of the need for unity in their country. But at the Edmonton service, lay people brought in two large planks that were joined together in the form of a cross.
Motiuk said those who celebrate the Lord’s commandments “are filled with hope in two pieces of wood that have come together in the cross.”
Christianity, like Korea, knows two nations divided, he said. “We are called to unite, to become one with one another.”
Motiuk noted that Ezekiel’s prophecy was the first prophecy spoken outside of Jerusalem.
The exile of the Jewish people was a sign that through their sinfulness, they had become alienated from God.
No one had believed Ezekiel’s prophecy that Jerusalem would be destroyed. But when that prophecy was realized, they turned and asked him for another word, he said.
For seven years, he was silent. Then he spoke not of lamentation and woe, but of the hope of a united nation of Israel.
“It was a message of hope that God had not abandoned them at all.”
Motiuk began the service by rejoicing in the fact that Christians from across Edmonton were able to pray together.
“It is a delight when Christians come together in the name of the Lord to give him praise and to give him glory.”