This year’s reflections for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity were prepared by the Churches in Malta and Gozo. We are sharing elements of their prayers, but follow the link for the full resources for personal or community prayer.
Naturally, the Maltese Christians draw our attention to the story in Acts 27-28 of how Paul, a prisoner in chains, was among a group who survived being shipwrecked on Malta.
Keep Your Strength Up
“Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, ‘Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.’ After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves.” (27:33-36)
I love coffee but lost my appetite for it.
I love a good read of the bulky weekend paper but my brain had no space for it, too busy processing and preparing, harnessing the little energy reserves I had to face cannulas and PICC lines and nauseating chemo.
Every hair from my head would be lost but I’d be rescued from the storm, hopefully.
And when you can’t eat to keep your strength up because the chemo makes you sick on a Wednesday, you chew on the words that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength, they’ll rise up on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, trusting that one day this broken body might rise again strong and supple scarred and scared.
Every hair of my head was lost but I’d be rescued from the storm, hopefully.
And as I look back these ten years hence, there wasn’t one set of footprints; there were hundreds of the friends and loved ones who visited, listened, cried, prayed and carried the body of Christ strengthening me. Every hair of my head was lost but I was rescued from the storm, thankfully.
Loving God, Your Son Jesus Christ broke bread and shared the cup with His friends. May we grow in closer communion when we share our pain and suffering. Encouraged by St Paul and the early Christians, give us strength to build bridges of compassion, solidarity and harmony.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, we ask this in the name of Your Son, who gives His life that we might live. Amen.