JUNE OVERVIEW. Birth, childhood and growth during adolescence are the most vibrant stages of life in all of creation, human, animal and plant as we recognise that family relationships exist too in the animal kingdom. Vigorous growth and regrowth happen in phases that can often be stressful and conflict-filled. However, ideally in a family, the young need conscious protection, care and support to monitor and direct their youthful energy towards full and responsible maturity.
Pope Francis tells youth in his letter “Christus Vivit,”: Young people intensely feel the call to love; they dream of meeting the right person with whom they can form a family and build a life together. God himself makes this known to them through their feelings, desires and dreams. CV 259. Difficulties they experience in their own family can lead the young to ask whether it is worthwhile to start a new family, to be faithful, to be generous. I say that it is worth your every effort to invest in the family, there you will find the best incentives to mature and the greatest joys to experience and share. Don’t let yourselves be led astray by those who propose a life of rampant individualism that in the end leads to isolation and the worst sort of loneliness. CV263. Young people feel the hurt of past failures, frustrated desires, experiences of discrimination and injustice, of feeling unloved and unaccepted. There are moral wounds, the burden of past errors and guilt for having made mistakes. Jesus makes his presence felt amongst these crosses and offers them his friendship. CV 83
Good habits need to be developed. It is essential to help children and adolescents to realise that misbehaviour has consequence. They need to be encouraged to put themselves in other people’s shoes and to acknowledge the hurt they have caused. AL 268.
CHRISTIAN UNITY WEEK (INTERNATIONAL AND CHURCH UNITY COMMISSION SOUTH AFRICA? Resources from https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/ Prayer from http://www.churchunitycommission.org/ available in various South African languages.
“In the power of the Spirit.” The Christians of the Middle East offer these resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity conscious that the world shares many of the travails and difficulties that they experience, and yearns for a light to lead the way to the Saviour who can overcome darkness. The COVID-19 global pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis, and the failure of political, economic and social structures to protect the weakest and most vulnerable, have underlined the global need for a light to shine in the darkness. The star that shone in the east, the Middle East, two thousand years ago still calls us to the manger, to where Christ is born. It draws us to where the Spirit of God is alive and active, to the reality of our baptism, and to the transformation of our hearts. After encountering the Saviour and worshipping him together, the Magi return to their countries.
CHRISTIAN UNITY PRAYER Lord God, who set the moon and the stars in place and gave us your only begotten Son, the Light of the world. Through the light of his presence, heal our wounds and renew our strength. Let the fire of Pentecost melt our stubbornness, reveal all that divides, and set us in the path of unity;to the glory of your mighty name. Amen.
June 1. Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Guided by the one Lord. “Ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising” (Mt 2:9) Reflect, share, act. Again and again the scriptures tell us how the Lord God walks with his people, protects them, and watches over them day and night. The path may not always be straight: sometimes we are led to retrace our steps, and at other times to return by a different route. But in all our journeying through life, we can be confident that God, who neither “sleeps nor slumbers,” protects us lest our feet slip and we fall. Even in the greatest darkness, God’s light is with us, shining through the prophets sent to guide God’s people on the way and to remind them of the covenant. Most perfectly, in the fullness of time, God sends His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as the guiding light for all nations. The way ahead into unity with one another, and so into closer union with Christ, is not always clear. It is all too easy to lose sight of this fundamental message of the scriptures: that God does not abandon his people even in their failures and divisiveness. This message is hope for Christians, but also for the whole world. As the story of the Magi reminds us, God guides people of all kinds, with the light of the star. God sends the Holy Spirit whose light enables us to see with the eyes of faith the call to unity and the reconciliation of all things in Him. It is this Spirit that leads us from darkness and tragedy into Christ’s light and life. Pray the Prayer for Christian Unity. Pray for Presbyterian/congregational Churches