Archbishop gives Thought for the Week on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester
Monday 10th October 2016
Archbishop Justin Welby recorded the Thought for the Week on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester yesterday during his visit to the Diocese of Worcester.
Read the transcript:
“It’s been a surreal week. Last Wednesday and Thursday I met the Pope, first for a big service then for a conversation. The service was beautiful, full of a sense of the presence of God. Towards the end the Pope gave a gift, for me and my successors, a beautifully carved wooden Bishop’s staff, modelled on one given to St Augustine by Pope Gregory the Great in 597 – over 1,400 years ago.
“In turn I gave him the cross I was wearing; it is called a Coventry Cross, and is the shape of three nails, modelled on the ones made at Coventry Cathedral after it was bombed in 1940. In the past 70 years they have become a global symbol of peacemaking and reconciliation.
“At that deeply emotional moment, triggered by the cross of nails, I remembered Aleppo, and those driven from homes all round the world as refugees. And then yesterday evening I met Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani 19-year-old shot for campaigning for education for girls, and still doing so. An extraordinary evening.
“Who was most important to God in all those meetings in Rome? Or in all the meetings I have had in this wonderful area in the last two days? Everyone and no-one. Everyone because through the life and death of Jesus Christ – God Himself – we know that every human being is loved and given dignity by God. No one because all status and position counts for nothing before God. What counts is love: His for us, ours for Him, and our sharing of His love and mercy in the world. And both the Pope and I know that!
“It’s a huge security and foundation for life. If we are loved not because we are good or lovable, but because God loves, and if we can respond to that love, we have security in good times and bad. And we are freed to love others.”
This article comes from the web-site of the Archbishop of Canterbury, ++ Justin Welby.
The ABC’s experiences over the previous few days had obviously well prepared him for his broadcast of this address from Radio Hereford and Worcester in England recently.
Fresh from his visit to the Vatican with a group of Anglican Bishops from around the world, to meet with Pope Francis – at the same time that a rival group of Anglican and other Bishops from the Global South and other places was meeting in Cairo to plan for a conservative coup against the Archbishop’s leadership of the Anglican Communion – Archbishop Justin was disposed only to speak of the more immediate impressions he had gained from meeting with Pope Francis and a Pakistani girl who had been shot for her bravery in campaigning for the education of girls and women in Pakistan.
Both Pope and Archbishop are keen to encourage their Church communities to seek justice for all people around the world – despite the fact that the Church has sometimes been seen as one of the oppressive forces holding back the emancipation of women and minority groups in countries that are traditionally resistant to the modern understanding of what that implementation of justice might involve, in the way of the enablement and conferring of democratic human rights.
That the Archbishop did not spend any time speaking about the divisions among Anglican Churches speaks volumes of the concerns uppermost in his mind at this time in his leadership of the Church of England. Far more important to him at this moment, is the fact that Christ’s teaching about God’s love for ALL people is a paramount function of the Gospel and the Church that was raised up by Jesus to enshrined that ethic.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand