2020 WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
“They showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2)
“LET US SHOW UNUSUAL KINDNESS”
They showed us unusual kindness “The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold.”
The week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year peaks on one of the most turbulent seasons in our lives–the threat of World War 3 at the beginning of the year, the continuation of human rights violations, humanitarian challenges from the previous onslaught of disaster. Also, amidst all of these, indifference abounds as many of our people continue to live in frantic situations: people living below poverty line, many are forced to work overseas to find greener pastures, only to find out even greater degree of hardships. Our communities continue to wallow in death dealing structures that wreak havoc in our lives: the government’s war on drugs, incessant greed and corruption by the authorities, massive inequality due to unequal distribution of wealth, and the general and unequivocal indifference of some of our leaders in government to the people’s welfare leaving them with future without hope. This situation is also immensely seen in governments all over the world shutting down borders and doors to the folks that are fleeing from their countries, being indifferent to the needs of those who needed help the most. The world seems unkind.
The unusual kindness as expressed by the native people in Malta experienced by Paul and the other prisoners is the kind of kindness that we need today. Such kindness and hospitality fosters solidarity, crossing and defying barriers to those whom we see different from us, even for those who don’t share our language, culture or faith. Kindness, shown with gracious hospitality with strangers here teaches us to go our unusual ways, and extend beyond what is needed.
An act of kindness is an act of love! It is unconditional love without any form of self-interest.
If we have to paraphrase St Paul’s ode of love, we can put it this way . . .
We can compose songs into music that flow sweet. We can master thousand words into poems of peace. Our hands can depict all the beauties of nature’s best. We can even speak in many tongues and languages of men, but without love, all these things are nothing; more than just a noisy gong, clanging bells!
We may be the one who has the gift of prophesy, has the knowledge and understanding of all mysteries. We may have the answers to the black and white disputes, to the many complexities of this world that’s mute, but without love, all these things are nothing, more than just a noisy gong, clanging bells!
In a world that is growing weary, amidst attacks to the very humanity in us, communities need to show up and take to heart what the world seem to forget, what our governments seem to forget. We need to teach how to love with kindness; we need to practice love in kindness. Kindness would be our weapon against the governments of nations’ ineptness to the plight of suffering people. Love through kindness will show us humanity and grace against the growing backdrop of creeping indifference of the leaders to its people: to the poor peasant of who are deprived of lands to till, to our OFWs, when most of our leaders, and policies fail to protect their rights, to the urban poor folks, when they continue to be in the shadows of poverty and clutches of debt, to the places and people who had been devastated by disasters, when services are not delivered, effectively and efficiently.
The world needs real kindness through love. The world seeks love in kindness. Perhaps kindness can be the only thing that binds us, and unite our differences. Kindness, unusual as it may seem in this world today can restore our humanity and bring back the face of Christ among us. Divided people can be drawn back together, touching lives and leading us to paths of unity. We begin to care and commiserate for one another, fully knowing well that love through acts of kindness is the key towards mutual understanding and unity.
Thus, we believe that kindness is an act of resistance to war, and act of resistance to the administration’s apathy to our OFWs stranded all over the world, love in an act of kindness is a radical act against actions of leaders that dampen the people’s empowerment, kindness is our response to the lives of the people, whom the authority neglected and forget: the poor, the powerless, and the vulnerable in times of calamities particularly those who are now greatly affected by Taal volcanic eruption; and the indigenous peoples who are victims of development aggression in the different parts of the country.
Kindness extends as a fundamental factor to peace building. Kindness breeds in openness, consistently inviting folks to the fold, allowing space to building better futures together. Unusual and radical kindness bolsters the spirit peace-making efforts, creating inclusive communities, embracing all, so that life in its fullness may be achieved (John 10:10). Kindness, which is a concrete manifestation of love, is our weapon against apathy that is so much ingrained in our consciousness today. Kindness too, is what we ask for the NDFP and the GRPP to go back to the negotiating table and talk about the prospects of peace. As peace brings food to the table, peace means there are enough jobs with equal pay for our people, when families have a roof on their heads, when land is available for peasants to work with. Peace gives back the dignity of people.
As a community of faith, we vow to be the community that practices unusual kindness, unconditional love. For we recognize and uphold the humanity of others, wherever we are. We are a community of churches and faithful and we will continue to see God in every person that we serve.
As we join in this week of Prayer for Christian Unity, may we be constantly be reminded of this radical hospitality and unusual kindness shown by the native people of Malta to Paul and the other 76 people aboard that ship. May the God of life and light, enjoin and inspire us to move collectively towards radical love through kindness and compel us to move in unity. May our love in acts of kindness be a witness to God’s abundant love and providence for the people, so that peace and justice may reign.
May the God of life continue to guide us to choose always to love doing acts of kindness over apathy and meaninglessness and continue to challenge the status quo, for the sake of life and for the pursuit of peace. Let’s all do kindness and honor God’s presence in each one of us!
In behalf of CBCP-Episcopal Commission
on Ecumenical Affairs (ECEA):
Most Rev. Angelito R. Lampon, OMI, DD
In behalf of National Council of Churches
in the Philippines (NCCP):
Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza
Download PDF: LET US SHOW UNUSUAL KINDNESS