The material for the week of prayer for Christian Unity 2021 has been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland.
The theme this year is “Abiding in Christ”.
The theme is based on John 15:1-7, “Abide in me and you shall bear much fruit”, and expresses the Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and in the human family.
The Grandchamp Community has its origins in Europe in the 1930s, when a group of women of the Reformed tradition sought to rediscover the importance of silence and listening to the Word of God.
Today the Community has 50 sisters, all women from different generations, church traditions, countries and continents. They remain faithful to a life of prayer, life in community and the welcoming of guests. They share the grace of their monastic life with visitors and volunteers who go to Grandchamp for a time of retreat, silence, healing or in search of meaning.
In producing the material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021, the sisters are inviting churches across the world to enter into their tradition of prayer and silence that is rooted in the ancient traditions of the Church catholic.
Jesus said to the disciples, “Abide in my love” (John 15:9). He abides in the love of the Father (John15:10) and desires nothing other than to share this love with us: “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father” (John 15:15b). Grafted into the vine, which is Jesus himself, the Father becomes our vinedresser who prunes us to make us grow. This describes what happens in prayer. The Father is the centre of our lives, who centres our lives. He prunes us and makes us whole, and whole human beings give glory to the Father.
Abiding in Christ is an inner attitude that takes root in us over time. It demands space to grow. It can be overtaken by the struggles for the necessities of life and it is threatened by the distractions, noise, activity and the challenges of life.
We live in a time that is both troubling and magnificent, an often dangerous time where we are challenged by pandemics, wars, violence, poverty, racism and climate change. Yet as Christians seeking reconciliation, justice and peace, we also know the value of a full spiritual life, have an immense responsibility and must realise it, unite and help each other create forces of calmness, refuges of peace, vital centres where the silence of people calls on the creative word of God. Though we as Christians abide in the love of Christ, we also live in a creation that groans as it waits to be set free (Romans 8). In the world we witness the evils of suffering and conflict. Through solidarity with those who suffer we allow the love of Christ to flow through us. The paschal mystery bears fruit in us when we offer love to our brothers and sisters and nurture hope in the world. Spirituality and solidarity are inseparably linked. Abiding in Christ, we receive the strength and wisdom to act against structures of injustice and oppression, to fully recognise ourselves as brothers and sisters in humanity and to be creators of a new way of living, with respect for and communion with all of creation.
The summary of the rule of life that the sisters of Grandchamp recite together each morning begins with the words, “Pray and work that God may reign”. Prayer and everyday life are not two separate realities but are meant to be united. All that we experience is meant to become an encounter with God. Included in this leaflet are the meditations and prayers written by the Community of Grandchamp, with suggested prayer topics for our churches in Ramsbottom.
Please join in because it is through prayer that we connect with the living God.