January 18-25, 2020 is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Each day this week we will publish a Bible reading, reflection and prayer on the theme of church unity.
If you would like to celebrate Unity Sunday in your congregation on Sunday, January 26, 2020, then see our worship resources posted here.
“The father of Publius lay sick in bed with fever and dysentery. Paul visited him and cured him by praying and putting his hands on him. After this happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They bestowed many honors on us, and when we were about to sail, they put on board all the provisions we needed”.
This story is full of giving and receiving: Paul received unusual kindness from the islanders; Paul gives healing to the father of Publius and others; having lost everything in the storm, the 276 receive abundant provisions as they set sail. As Christians we are called to unusual kindness. But in order to give we must first learn to receive – from Christ and from others. More often than we realize, we are recipients of acts of kindness from people who are different from us. These acts also point towards the generosity and healing of our Lord. We who have been healed by the Lord are responsible for passing on that which we have received.
God, giver of life,
we thank you for the gift of your compassionate love
which soothes and strengthens us.
We pray that our churches
may be always open to receive your gifts from one another.
Grant us a spirit of generosity to all
as we journey together in the path of Christian unity.
We ask this in the name of your Son
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.