‘We have every reason to be confident in the gospel as revolution. In Africa in 2010 I stood with a group of ten men, by the mass grave holding the bodies of the majority of the village’s women and children, cut down in a raid a few days earlier. In that darkness, because of the gospel, with other raids around us, they spoke of reconciliation. A few years ago I met a cardinal from Vietnam, an Archbishop who had spent 13 years in prison for his faith, tortured, told he was forgotten. In that darkness, because of the gospel he had led his torturer to faith in Christ and then trained him for ordination when he too was imprisoned, and started a church in the prison, celebrating Mass each day with a grain of rice and enough rice wine to hold in the palm of one hand, and preaching the gospel in whispered sentences during roll call. A few weeks back I spoke with an old friend, just diagnosed with an inoperable tumour, in that darkness, because of the gospel he told me not to worry, it was transition.
‘The gospel is revolutionary, it turns the world upside down and makes darkness light, we find it in worship, we share it in proclamation and we pray for others to do the same. We have a simple task needing extraordinary work. God calls for risk takers, united in love, within each church denomination and across all the churches – we have much work there when you see the disunity in which we live. We are called to work, in our communities, parish by parish, in sector ministries, both the very front line of passionate and society-changing worship and of clear witness to Christ.
‘Jesus calls us, and He has made us the merchants of hope, He has given the keys of the future, the stones that make the foundations of a great society, a good country and a renewed future. We are called to be light in this dark world.
‘In the present darkness, because of the gospel, let us be confident, let us pray for His power knowing our own weakness and his extraordinary faithfulness. As has been done through the centuries up to this present moment, let us get on with His work.’
Bishop Justin Welby, on his enthronement as Bishop of Durham, November 26th 2011. Read the rest here.
It seems very likely that within the next 24 hours Bishop Justin’s appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury will be announced.