WPCU Day 2: Reflection by Rev. Gail Avery (TEC)

During the Week of Prayer for for Christian Unity (WPCU), the NH Council of Churches will post daily reflections from leaders its the ten member denominations. This year’s theme is “Justice and only justice shall you pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20).

Day 2: Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’

Matthew 5:33-37


Years ago, I served in a parish that opened its door to an Indonesian faith community. Truth be told, we never got close enough to falsely accuse one another. Every Sunday, our church occupied the sanctuary from 8am-11 while the Indonesian church began their service at 2pm. Separate and distinct—never shall the two communities be blended.

“Let you word be yes, yes or no, no…make one hair white or black,”…never grey. We never mingled until the day they invited us to one of their dinner celebrations. We came. We broke bread. We began seeing each other as neighbor.

As Christmas neared, we invited the Indonesian community to participate in our Christmas Eve services. First, they shared their choir. Then their youth agreed to be readers. By the 3rd year, their pastor co-celebrated with me at the Eucharist table. Sharing Christ as we broke bread, has a way of changing “I” into “we.” We became members of one another and that changed everything.


O God of righteousness,
grant us wisdom to distinguish right from wrong.
Let our hearts be guided by honesty and our lips speak the truth.
Give us courage to be truthful even when others go against us.
Keep us from spreading deceit;
Make us, rather, agents of unity and peace,
spreading good news for all people.
We pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

About the Author

Rev. Gail Avery is Canon for Transition and Community Engagement in the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, comprising 45 congregations in the Granite State.