Unusual Kindness – Dublin Churches Join Worldwide Prayer for Unity
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020 takes place from January 18 to 25, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul.
Representatives of Christian communities from all over Dublin joined Christians around the world in praying for unity as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020. The inaugural service, organised by Dublin Council of Churches, took place in the Church of the Assumption in Booterstown on Sunday afternoon (January 19).
The theme for the service was ‘Unusual Kindness’ and materials were prepared for use worldwide by the Christian Churches in Malta and Gozo. ‘Unusual Kindness’ is based on Acts 27: 18 – 28: 10. On February 10 many Christians in Malta celebrate the Feast of the Shipwreck of St Paul, marking and giving thanks for the arrival of Christian faith on the islands.
During Sunday’s service, Rector of Booterstown, Carysfort and Mount Merrion, Canon Gillian Wharton narrated the story of the shipwreck of St Paul off Malta and the arrival of the crew on the island where they were shown ‘unusual kindness’ by the residents.
The preacher was the Revd Abigail Sines, Dean’s Vicar at Christ Church Cathedral. She brought the congregation through the background of Paul’s journey to Rome – physical, spiritual and full of symbolism.
Having been shipwrecked in a storm the crew of the boat find safety on an unknown island where they are met by the inhabitants who are culturally and linguistically different from them but show unusual kindness to the survivors. Paul then prays for healing which touches the lives of all the islanders and out of disaster, friendship and respect grows.
“The islanders who showed unusual kindness became part of Paul’s story and part of God’s story of the Good News reaching to all people. We have the witness of the church in Malta today, who have prepared this year’s service, as the legacy of that interaction so many years ago, when the islanders might have reacted with violence or rejection, but in fact acted with unusual kindness and genuine hospitality,” Ms Sines said.
She said the story provided food for thought and urged the congregation to look for God’s hand in the midst of the story. She also asked them to be people who are able to both graciously receive and freely extend unusual kindness.
“How different would the world be if more people were living their lives in that frame of mind? Less defensive, less reactionary. More gracious, more open. We may find that unusual kindness comes to us from unexpected quarters, even from people very different from ourselves, people whom we thought had nothing to give and at just the right moment. As disciples of Jesus, we are first of all recipients of God’s self–giving ‘unusual kindness’, it should be part of our maturing walk of discipleship that the way of kindness, enlivened by the wisdom and discernment of God’s Spirit, increasingly fills our lives and interactions,” she concluded.
Find out more about Dublin Council of Churches here: www.dublincouncilofchurches.ie
Service in Irish on Friday evening
The annual Interdenominational Service in Irish organised by Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise in conjunction with Pobal an Aifrinn takes place tomorrow, Friday January 24 at 8pm in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. Canon David Oxley will preside at the service and Rev Séamus Ó hÉanaigh, President of Cumann na Sagairt will preach. The choir from Gaelscoil na Coille will perform, directed by Clár Ní Thuathail and Ailbhe Nic Cába is the organist.