I clocked in with the Cancer Assessment Unit at 8.30am today. They conducted a long series of tests to ensure that I was fit to proceed with the transplant. I passed on all fronts. One of the questions was “Do you have a hearing aid” to which I answered “WHAT’S THAT YOU SAID!” After a slight delay the nurse smiled and appeared to take it in good humour!
Then I was taken downstairs to have the hickman line inserted in my chest. This line will spare me having a needle put in my arm each time blood has to be drawn or a drip given. It was done under sedation and I was out for about 30 minutes. I had to fast from food and fluids from midnight so that the tea and toast that followed was sweet!
Today is the feast of the Conversion of St Paul and the end of eight days of prayer for Christian Unity. Christian unity was so important to Christ that at the Last Supper he prayed: “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17) He is saying in effect that the successful proclamation of the Gospel will depend on the unity of his followers.
Given the current radical diversity among denominations, the challenges facing Christian unity are enormous. Unity means primarily the capacity to have a common set of beliefs and practices regarding the Christian life. The ecumenical movement has brought great fruit in my experience in terms of ‘melting the ice at ground level’ and fostering fraternal relations between Catholics and Christians of the Protestant traditions. As I see it prayer will continue to assist this process and enable the theologians and leaders to move towards achieving common beliefs and practices.