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What does God require of us? (cf. Micah 6:6-8)

DAY 3 Walking towards Freedom

Readings

Exodus 1: 15-22 The Hebrew midwives obey God‘s law over the command of Pharaoh
Psalm 17: 1-6 The confident prayer of one open to God‘s gaze
2 Cor. 3: 17-18 The glorious freedom of God‘s children in Christ
John 4: 4-26 Conversation with Jesus leads the Samaritan woman
into freer living

Commentary
Walking humbly with the Lord is always a walk into receiving the freedom he
opens up before all people. With this in mind we celebrate. We celebrate the
mystery of the struggle for freedom, which takes place even in the places where
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oppression, prejudice and poverty seem to be impossible burdens. The resolute
refusal to accept inhuman commands and conditions – like those given by Pharaoh
to the midwives of the enslaved Hebrew people – can seem like small actions; but
these are often the kinds of actions towards freedom going on in local communities
everywhere. So we celebrate the determination for freedom—in dignity, social
inclusion, and a proper share in all that is good—such as that seen in the Dalit
communities. Such determined journeying towards fuller living presents a gift of
Gospel hope to all people, caught up, in our different ways, within the patterns of
inequality across the globe.
The step by step journey into freedom from unjust discrimination and practices of
prejudice is brought home to us by the story of Jesus‘ meeting at the well with the
woman of Samaria. Here is a woman who seeks, first of all, to question the
prejudices which confront her, as well as to seek ways of alleviating the practical
burdens of her life. These concerns are the starting place for her conversation with
Jesus. Jesus himself engages in conversation with her on the bases both of his need
for her practical help (he is thirsty) and in a mutual exploration of the social
prejudices which make this help seem problematic. Bit by bit the way of a freer life
is opened up before the woman, as the reality of the complexities of her life are
seen more clearly in the light of Jesus‘ words. In the end these personal insights
return the conversation to a place where what divides these two groups of people –
where they should worship – is transcended. ―Worship in spirit and in truth‖ is
what is required; and here we learn to be free from all that holds us back from life
together, life in its fullness.
To be called into greater freedom in Christ, is a calling to deeper communion.
Those things which separate us – both as Christians searching for unity, and as
people kept apart by unjust traditions and inequalities – keep us captives, and
hidden from one another. Our freedom in Christ is, rather, characterised by that
new life in the Spirit, which enables us, together, to stand before the glories of God
―with unveiled faces‖. It is in this glorious light that we learn to see each other
more truly, as we grow in Christ‘s likeness towards the fullness of Christian unity.
Prayer
Liberating God, we thank you for the resilience and hopeful faith of those who
struggle for dignity and fullness of life. We know that you raise up those who are
cast down, and free those who are bound. Your Son Jesus walks with us to show us
the path to authentic freedom. May we appreciate what has been given to us, and
be strengthened to overcome all within us that enslaves. Send us your Spirit so that
the truth shall set us free, so that with voices united we can proclaim your love to
the world. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
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Questions
 Are there times, even in our own Christian communities, when the prejudices
and judgments of the world, – with regard to caste, age, gender, race,
educational background – stop us seeing each other clearly in the light of God‘s
glory?
 What small, practical steps can we take, as Christians together, towards the
freedom of the Children of God (Romans 8.21) for our churches, and for wider
society?

Annual brochure (pdf) jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

Please note: This is the international version of the text of the Week of Prayer 2013. Kindly contact your local Bishops’ Conference or Synod of your Church to obtain an adaptation of this text for your local context.

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