“Unusual kindness. Unexpected kindness” -- The theme of the recently concluded Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020.
A TOTAL of 60 online bible versions of “Acts 28:2” (Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 28: Verse 2) marvelled at the “unusual kindness” that was shown to the group of (Saint) Paul (the apostle to the Gentiles) when they got shipwrecked in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and somehow found themselves in the island of Malta.
And on top of the online list is this version describing the scene of unusual kindness that somehow became the centrepiece of this year’s recently concluded Week of Prayer for Christian Unity:
KJ21 (21st Century King James Version):
“And the barbarous people showed us no little kindness, for they kindled a fire and received us every one, because of the present rain and because of the cold.”
I wish that my fellow men and women would somehow say the same thing of me – that I somehow showed them “unusual kindness” at some time in their lives – even as pray that I also be shown unusual kindness by my fellow men and women (especially where and when I need it most).
“You are too kind, Ma’am!”
That’s what my cadet students at the Philippine Military Academy often exclaimed to me during my teaching years from School Year 2003 to School Year 2007.
On hindsight: Was that a compliment or a complaint?
Continuing the Words of Welcome to Baguio Christians of various denominations on 2020 January 20 – the first day of the weeklong Prayer for Christian Unity – during the Ecumenical Worship Service at the Baguio City First United Methodist Church, Inc.:
“...This text (Acts 28:2) signals the beginning of Christianity in Malta – a small country made up of two main inhabited islands, Malta and Gozo, as well as other islets – at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, halfway between the southern tip of Sicily and Northern Africa.
“This biblical land lies at the crossroads of civilizations, cultures and religions.
“Our prayers and reflections, today, and during this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, are centred on the hospitality shown by the islanders towards those who had just been shipwrecked: “They showed us unusual kindness” 9cf. Acts 28:2).
“May the love and respect we show each other today as we pray for Christian unity be with us throughout the whole year.”