Love conquers fear
As many of you know, last month saw me step into the role of chaplain to Bath’s new Mayor, Ian Gilchrist, for the next year. The civic service which took place in the Abbey, marked the swearing in of the 790th Mayor and followed a civic procession, led spectacularly by the 93-squadron marching band, the Avon fire drill squad, the city sword-bearer, mace bearers, the new Mayor, charter trustees, honorary aldermen, and other visiting mayors.
Photo opportunities abounded with tourists seemingly equally delighted and bewildered as robed, chained and unusually beaver-hatted sword bearers and mace carriers passed by on our way to the Abbey.
Britain of course is a nation that for hundreds of years has delighted in and fabulously delivered the magnificence and pomp of civic and institutional occasions. Perhaps for some this might seem increasingly strange amidst the reality of our modern digital, technological days. However, it is perhaps this very history and heritage, with the stability and continuation of who we are, that speaks out against the terrors of violence and the uncertainties and anxieties that today fill our newspapers and homes.
The spirit and oneness shown in Manchester after the atrocities of the terrorist attack shows that fear can never ultimately conquer a people and that love, freedom and hope will always finally trump any ideology of hatred.
History, of course, shows us that those who seek to undermine freedom, to cause others to cower in fear, are not a new phenomenon. Britain has endured terrorism, threat of invasion, attack and occupation for millennia which perhaps has given us a resilience and desire to stand resolutely with those who are subjected to violence and injustice whether here in our country or abroad. For those of us who are Christians, we believe that God is one who weeps with those who mourn and calls us to engage both practically and through prayer to see hope renewed, love conquering fear and God’s Kingdom released.
I recently found something that Bishop Peter said very helpful in this as we try to make sense of the struggles of our world. He said this, “in Jesus, God did not come to explain suffering, or to remove it, but to fill it with his presence.” May the reality of Immanuel, God with us, be your experience and the experience of our nation in these uncertain days.
Priest in Charge Loves church pioneering, family, guitars, Macs, jeeps and Jesus, not necessarily in that order...