The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January – the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul. However, some areas observe it at Pentecost or some other time.
Resources for 2019 have been prepared by Christians from Indonesia, the largest country in South East Asia, made up of more than 17,000 islands, 1,340 different ethnic groups and over 740 local languages, united by one national language Bahasa Indonesia. With some 86% of its 260 million people estimated to be Muslim, it has the largest Islamic population of any country. About 10% of Indonesians are Christian. Indonesians have lived by the principle of gotong royong which is to live in ‘solidarity and by collaboration’, regarding all Indonesians as brothers and sisters.
But gotong royong sits ill at ease with the neo-liberal approach to economics that has led to economic growth, and corruption infecting politics and business, often with devastating effects on the environment. Meanwhile those who are supposed to promote justice and protect the weak fail to do so. As a consequence, a country rich in resources bears the burden of many people living in poverty. Particular ethnic and religious groups are often associated with wealth in ways that have fed tensions.
The Christians of Indonesia found that the words of Deuteronomy, ‘Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue…'(see Deut. 16:18-20) spoke powerfully to their situation.