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April 2016

Dear Friends,

                                    Thy kingdom come thy will be done

Last week I received a letter with two impressive seals on the top. The first was that of the archbishop of Canterbury and the second of the archbishop of York. The letter was signed +Justin Cantuar and +Sentamu Eboracencis. Now it is not that I move in such circles but that the archbishops have written to every serving parish priest in the Church of England inviting them to join in a week of prayer between May the 8th and May the 18th the week leading up to Pentecost. At the heart of the prayers will be those words from The Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come thy will be done.”

I knew a lady once who having been very active in local politics and in the community took a decision, seemingly suddenly but surely not, to withdraw from her active life and to join a place of retreat to pray for the world. As a young man at the time it struck me as rather interesting and revealing that she had decided that this would be the most useful and effective thing that she could do for the betterment of the world in which we live.

There is a feeling creeping into our public life and conversation that today we are living in more frightening times, that some of the underlying consensus of the post second world war world are in question. For example the redistribution of posterity, mutual respect trust and tolerance of the other, the ineluctable victory over disease, the very presumption of renewed and refreshed peacefulness. These are fragile fruits easily bruised by ambition, avarice and arrogance which are not things of God, nor of Paradise nor what we want for our children.

On Easter Sunday we celebrated the light of the resurrection and the promises it brought. As we move towards the feast of Pentecost, the birth of the church the day when the disciples came empowered from their hiding in the closed attic of fear to proclaim at last and afresh Jesus’ teaching our archbishops have asked us to join together in payer for a better world: “Thy kingdom come.”

Their vision is to see a great wave of prayer across the land, a vision of a great many people praying in many different ways – in church, on the bus, at the beginning of an event, even before a conversation. The Lord’s Prayer say Justin and John is “reassuring enough to be on the lips of the dying yet dangerous enough to be banned in cinemas.” It is still powerful.

Let us then hear their request, give thought to praying together once more and let us see how this may transform ourselves and those around us.

With best wishes


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