Stephen D’Evelyn on “We,” prayer, and the disabled community

Recently in my trade union rep guise I have been helping a member of staff who has ME (also known as CFS) negotiate his workload. One problem with ME is that it is exacerbated by sudden pressures from outside such as spikes in work that needs to be done.
One solution we have been discussing is finding ways to share the teaching work to help equalize the overall amount of work required. We have been exploring the practicability of getting someone to give some of the lectures, do some of the marking etc, so there are ferwe gaps and spikes in what work the individual needs to do. We have been looking at ways to work contuyously and steadily by involving more than one person.
Walking hurriedly to a meeting with this member of staff and his line manager and an HR manager today, I couldn’t help but feel glad the bus had not been later. The air was unseasonably warm. And those birds who are still here were singing incessantly.
I suddenly remembered the oft-quoted phrase from one of Paul’s epistles ‘pray without ceasing’. I looked it up when I got back to the office (1 Thes 5: 16): ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances’.
On a hunch I had a look at the Greek. And guess what? ‘Pray’ is part of the train of thought that starts with an address to ‘Brothers (and sisters)’. The verb is plural. We pray without ceasing as a community, a collective. The spikes and troughs of life’s demands which may be easier or harder to take depending on our circumstances, are met by collective action of petition and thanksgiving. And so we strengthen each other.
As Christmas approaches, we may see how disability opens us outward into community.

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