Peace and Mercy

I’ve been looking back this evening on Archbishop Rowan William’s sermon on Sunday, where he preached to the Anglicans in Zimbabwe. A strong, powerful, great message which I recommend a look at it to all my readers. Click here for the full text, and/or read the extract I’ve pulled out below…

As we together give thanks for the gifts of nature that God has given us and the gifts of solidarity and the gift of freedom from foreign exploitation, can we stand together to say to all our political leaders and rulers, ‘Listen! Not only to the voice of those who suffer but to the voice of God himself, grieving over the way we ruin his creation, the voice of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, longing for his people to open their hearts to justice and peace and mercy.’

This Eucharist is the sign of God’s purpose for all of us; it is a feast in which all are fed with Christ’s new life, in which there is no distinction of race, tribe or party. In this community there can be no place for violence or for retaliation: we stand together, sinners in need of grace, proclaiming to the world that there is room at God’s table for all people equally. What the Church has to say to the society around it, whether here or in Britain, is not to advance a political programme but to point to the fact of this new creation, this fellowship of justice and joy, this universal feast. It is on the basis of this vision that we urge all people to say no to violence, especially as the next election approaches in this country; to discover that deep reverence for each person that absolutely forbids us from treating them as if their welfare did not matter, from abusing and attacking them.

The message we want to send from this Eucharistic celebration is that we do not have to live like that – in terror, in bloodshed. God has given us another way. He has opened a door of possibility that no-one can shut.

A door of possibility is indeed open. We need to come together… starting with us, with our local communities, and wider in sharing with the hungry in the world, in places like Africa and (I can hardly believe it) in America. All over the world people need love. Need help with all kinds of things. Hurting people don’t need lectures, or violent threats, or to be ignored. Hurting people need to be accepted for their beautiful, inner selves, and to be helped. To be loved. We, you and me, can help. Peace…

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3 Responses to Peace and Mercy

  1. S.L.R says:

    I just hope the Archbishop’s visit does not place Zimbabwean Anglicans in increased danger. He openly criticised Mugabe, which he is right to do, of course, but he has come into the country on a visit, these brave people have celebrated his presence, and are therefore implicated in his criticism of the regime, in the eyes of the evil Mugabe and Kunonga.

    • Rachael Eliz says:

      I too hope that the Zimbabwean Anglicans are not put into further danger, but can say that a spark of hope from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the loving response that will come from many, I think will have a good impact, if nothing immediate then to simply keep the loving, true Christians there continuing in their bravery knowing they have support. If any react violently, then I will pray, as I do constantly, for sources of “community” – that people will come together. At the prayer corner of my Church, there is a framed prayer next to a spiral of candles that members of the congregation light for themselves or others. On it, it says “It only take the light of one small candle to let the darkness know it cannot win.” I think, and will continue to pray and hope, that the light is spreading. And Rowan WIlliams is, in my opinion, one of those sources. God be with them. Emmanuel…

  2. S.L.R says:

    Yeah, I will be hoping for some positive results of his visit. Perhaps we shall see that Mugabe is persuaded by Dr. Wiliams’ visit to crack down on the renegade Kunonga. It is Kunonga driving the violence and persecution against Anglicans, while Mugabe condones it. The Archbishop has made some big decisions in his tenure, and his views are not always widely accepted when he veers into political debate. But I think it’s good we have an intellectually active Archbishop who, simply by his nature rather than contrived design, ensures the Church in England remains an important factor in the public sphere.

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