Thursday, 12 March 2015

Commonwealth Observance

On Monday it was my privilege to accompany our outgoing Church Secretary to the Commonwealth Observance at Westminster Abbey.  Norma is a big supporter of the Commonwealth and it was a real joy to share this annual event with her.

The Observance brings together people from the fifty three member states - people of all faiths and none under one roof (a rather spectacular one at that!) for an afternoon of celebration.

It was moving to see young people carry in the flags and inspiring to sense the atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation that seemed almost tangible in the Abbey on Monday afternoon.

Of course there were moments of pomp and pageantry - how could there not have been with no less than six members of the Royal Family in attendance!  Yet there were also impassioned addresses from the speakers and vibrant dancing in the nave.

Afterwards as we left the Abbey it was great to see people from all four corners of the world chatting with each other whilst giving a hug or taking a photo.  In a day and age when so many radical groups would seek to set people against each other Monday afternoon was a real tonic proclaiming mutuality.

At the end of the service both Norma and I commented on just how helpful we had found the prayer offered up by the Muslim cleric during the intercessions. It went like this:

O Lord! You are Peace, from you is peace; you are blessed, O Sustainer!  You are Most High, O One of majesty and nobility!  You created us from one man and one woman.  Had it been your will, you would have made us all the same, but you made us into nations and tribes so that we may know each other.  O magnificent Creator!  Enable us to respect the diversity you have created.  Join together our hearts, free us from fear, hunger, disease, and war.  O loving Creator!  We ask you to answer our prayer through your grace and your mercy.  

And both of us felt we could say a heartfelt 'Amen' to that!

With best wishes,

Ian
ps Blog holiday next week!

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