One Light One World front coveOne Light – One world
Unity and the Scriptures

Churches Together in England and Bible Society collaborated to produce this booklet to mark the Centenary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, with the support of Congregational & General Insurance plc. The introduction and table of contents are below and you can also download the whole booklet.

Overview

This booklet helps to re-establish the scriptural basis for our ecumenical calling.

Ultimately the reason we, as Christian Churches and Christians, are involved in the ecumenical journey, is because there is a divine mandate.

This selection shows the vision of the unity of the Church within the purposes of God. He wills that his whole creation is at unity with itself and with him, through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We pray without ceasing that the Church may be a sign, instrument and foretaste of the unity of all things in Christ.
 

A letter from the four Presidents of Churches Together in England

The unity of all God’s people

We pray for the unity of the Church and for the unity of all God’s people. We pray for unity because we believe that the one God and Father of us all creates us to be one with him. Our calling is to grow into unity and blessedness with him, enabled by the work of his Son Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We pray for unity because we believe that this is God’s will and purpose. In praying for the unity of the Church our vision is that the Church itself may be an instrument in bringing about the healing of nations and peoples, and a foretaste of a world in which all men and women and children are reconciled to him and to one another.

The texts set out in these pages are an invitation to reflect upon what God wants of us and how we may fulfil in our own lives the prayer of Jesus that we may be one.

Presidents signatures

 

Suggestions for use

This booklet is offered to stimulate renewed engagement with the scriptural mandate for the Church’s unity. Among the ways you may wish to use it are:

  • For personal reflection and prayer.

  • In a small group to read and discuss each of the main sections taking a session for each.

  • To consider as a local Churches Together grouping or ministers’ group what the implications of these texts might be for our relationships and activities.

  • To read a selection of these texts in an ecumenical gathering.

  • To encourage artistic or poetic responses to one or more texts or sections either to share among the churches or as an exhibition.

 

Contents

The booklet contains the following scripture texts, printed in full.

The Unity of God
  • The Lord our God is one: Deuteronomy 6.4–7

  • The only Lord: Mark 12.28–31

  • God’s faithfulness surrounds you: Psalm 89.5–8
     

The Unity of Creation and the human race
  • It was very good: Genesis 1.26–31

  • The Lord encompasses all: Isaiah 40.21–26

  • The world belongs to the Lord: Psalm 24.1–2

  • Good news for all nations: Matthew 24.14

  • All of creation waits with eager longing: Romans 8.19–23

  • God loved the world so much: John 3.16

  • To God be the glory: Romans 11.33–36
     

The Unity of God’s People
  • A great nation: Genesis 12.1–3

  • The holy nation: 1 Peter 2.9–10

  • Called to be God’s holy people: 1 Corinthians 1.2–3

  • We are his people: Psalm 95.1–7
     

Christ’s work in bringing us into unity
  • Better that one man die for the people: John 11.49–52 

  • One flock, one shepherd: John 10.14–16

  • We are his children: Galatians 4.6–7

  • God will be all in all: 1 Corinthians 15.24–28

  • To draw everyone to himself: John 12.32

  • To gather up all things in him: Ephesians 1.7–12

  • That they all be one: John 17.20–23

  • We will be saved by his life: Romans 5.10–11

  • God was pleased to reconcile all things: Colossians 1.15–20

  • He has broken down the dividing wall: Ephesians 2.13–22

  • Let all the peoples praise him: Romans 15.10–11
     

The Spirit’s gifts of unity

  • All together in one place: Acts 2.1–6

  • Not disorder, but peace: 1 Corinthians 14.31–33

  • For building up the body of Christ: Ephesians 4.7, 11–16

  • One body in union with Christ: Romans 12.3–5

  • The gift each one has received: 1 Peter 4.8–11

  • God’s gift of the Spirit: Ephesians 3.14–16
     

Recognising that we belong together: Living in unity

  • You should wash one another’s feet: John 13.3–15

  • The greatest must be like the youngest: Luke 22.24–30

  • Keep on loving with all your heart: 1 Peter 1.22

  • Let us love one another: 1 John 4.7–11

  • We love because he first loved us: 1 John 4.19–21

  • The greatest of these is love: 1 Corinthians 12.31-13.1–13

  • Consider others better than yourselves: Philippians 2.5–11
     

Recognising that we belong together: Mutual respect and harmony
  • First be reconciled to your brother or sister: Matthew 5.21–24

  • Be united in the same mind and same purpose: 1 Corinthians 1.10–13

  • Love one another: Romans 13.8

  • Never put a hindrance in the way of another: Romans 14.13–18

  • Pursue peace with everyone: Hebrews 12.14–15

  • Welcome one another: Romans 15.7

  • Righteousness and peace will embrace: Psalm 85.10–11
     

Recognising that we belong together: Interdependence and partnership

  • They signalled to their partners to help: Luke 5.1–8

  • Bear one another’s burdens: Galatians 6.1–2

  • Put up with the failings of the weak: Romans 15.1–2

  • No dissension within the body: 1 Corinthians 12.12–31

  • Delight in the Law of the Lord: Psalm 1.1–3
     

Recognising that we belong together: Life in fellowship
  • Abide in me as I abide in you: John 15.1–16

  • Everything in common: Acts 2.42–47

  • Agree with one another; live in peace: 2 Corinthians 13.11–13

  • In the light we have fellowship with one another: 1 John 1.3–7

  • In Christ Jesus you are all children of God: Galatians 3.26–29

  • Maintain the unity of the Spirit: Ephesians 4.2–6

  • Aim to do good to one another and to all people: 1 Thessalonians 5.13–25

  • How wonderful it is for God’s people to live together in harmony: Psalm 133.1–3
     

A letter from the Chief Executive of Bible Society

Bible Society is delighted to provide this booklet of significant texts from the Bible. These underline the vital concern we all share that God’s people might be one so that the world will believe. We value deeply our partnerships with all the churches and offer this booklet believing that Holy Scripture will be a light to our path (Psalm 119.105).

Bible Society exists to serve and support the churches and denominations in England and Wales and around the world. We long for the day when the Bible’s Godgiven revelation, inspiration and wisdom is shaping the lives and communities of people everywhere.

We hope that you will find the New Revised Standard Version text which is used here accessible, clear and helpful. We commend these passages and their contexts to you for your consideration and discussion but also your prayerful reflection and response.

James Catford
Bible Society, Stonehill Green, Westlea, Swindon SN5 7DG
 

The small print

One light: one world © copyright Churches Together in England 2007.

All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in any form (other than the pdf for personal and church use) without the express permission in writing from Churches Together in England. It may not be used for commercial benefit.

The Bible text used in this publication is from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Up to 500 verses of the NRSV may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio) without charge and without obtaining written permission provided that all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The total number of verses quoted is:

    ?  less than an entire book of the Bible, and
    ?  less than 50% of the total number of words in the work in which they are quoted.
     

  2. No changes are made to the text.
     

  3. The applicable notice of copyright must appear in an appropriate location in the publication in which they are quoted.
     

If a proposed use of the NRSV text is outside the conditions described above, then a request for permission is necessary. Inquiries about permissions or licenses to use the NRSV should be directed to: nrsvcopyright@aol.com

a ChurchInsight siteLow GraphicsCopyrightT&CsPrivacyHelpRegistered Charity 1110782, Comp Reg No 5354231