The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is delighted to be able to publish the materials prepared for the Week of Prayer of Prayer for Christian Unity, 2022. The materials were prepared by the Middle Eastern Council of Churches and took the theme: “We observed his star in the East” (Matthew 2:2). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic the local writing group, based mainly in Lebanon could not host or meet in person with the international commission sponsored by the World Council of Churches and this Pontifical Council. Instead members met virtually from 28 September–1 October 2020 and again on 20 October and circulated draft texts electronically to finalise the draft.
In the star, the Christians in the Middle East found an image of the Christian vocation. The star was a sign that guided the Magi from far-off places and diverse backgrounds to the child Jesus, which is an image of how Christians are drawn into communion with one another as they come closer to Christ. Christians themselves have to be a sign like the star that guides all people to Christ. They have to be the means by which God is bringing about the unity of all peoples. When Christians come into the Lord’s presence and pray together they are like the Magi who knelt down and did him homage and opened their treasures. In common prayer we too open our treasures, we exchange of gifts, and we become a sign of the unity that God desires for all of his creation.
We are grateful for the work of the Middle Eastern Council of Churches, based mainly in Lebanon, which produced these materials despite the terrible challenges faced by the Lebanese people in 2020.