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

DAY 5 Walking as the friends of Jesus

Song of Solomon 1.5-8 Love and the beloved
Psalm 139.1-6 You have searched me out and known me
3 John 2-8 Hospitality to friends in Christ
John 15.12-17 I call you friends

To walk humbly with God does not mean walking alone. It means walking with
those who are those vital signs of God‘s presence among us, our friends. ―But I
have called you friends‖ says Jesus in John‘s Gospel. Within the freedom of love,
we are able to choose our friends, and to be chosen as a friend. ―You did not
choose me, but I chose you‖ Jesus says to each of us. Jesus‘ friendship with each of
us transfigures and transcends our relationships with family and society. It speaks
of God‘s deep and abiding love for us all.
The Bible‘s love poem, the Song of Solomon, has been interpreted in various ways
such as the love of God for Israel, or the love of Christ for the Church. It remains
the testimony of passion between lovers which transcends the imposed boundaries
of society. While the lover says to her beloved ―I am black and beautiful‖, her
words come with the plea ―do not gaze at me because I am dark.‖ But the lover
does gaze, and chooses love, as does God in Christ. Dalits know that when God
gazes upon them it is with this same passionate love. When Christ says to Dalits ―I
have called you friends‖ it is a form of liberation from the inhumanity and injustice
inflicted upon them by the caste system. In India today, it is a costly response for a
Dalit to become a friend of Jesus.
What does the Lord require of those called to walk with Jesus and his friends? In
India it is a call to the churches to embrace the Dalits as equal friends of their
common friend. Such a call to be friends with the friends of Jesus is another way of
understanding the unity of Christians for which we pray this week. Christians
around the world are called to be friends with all those who struggle against
discrimination and injustice. The walk towards Christian unity requires that we
walk humbly with God with—and as—the friends of Jesus.
Jesus, from the first moment of our being you offered us your friendship. Your
love embraces all peoples, especially those who are excluded or rejected because
of human constructions of caste, race or colour. Filled with the confidence and
assurance of our dignity in you, may we walk in solidarity towards each other, and
embrace each other in the Spirit, as children of God. God of life, lead us to justice
and peace. Amen.
 Who are those in your communities whom Christ calls into your friendship?
 What prevents the friends of Jesus from being friends with one another?
 How does being the friends of the same Jesus challenge the divided churches?

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.