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Viewpoint from Rev Canon Simon Ward 14/01/2022

SIMON WARD 12-2018

Rev Canon Simon Ward
Team Rector, Great Yarmouth Team Ministry, and Rural Dean

 

News came this week of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was a huge character with an appetite for justice which turned him into a driving force for good through the dark times of Apartheid in South Africa. Even in the darkest of times he managed to maintain an outlook of hope and joy which so often seemed infectious to others. Apparently, there was a time when the police burst into Capetown Cathedral and Tutu defied them by dancing down aisle. Dancing was every much part of his life and many times he responded to situations with infectious joy and had to dance
 
dove leftThe one time I saw Archbishop Tutu was at a celebration of St Alban, celebrated with a full cathedral in St Albans. The one thing that struck me as he first drove past us in the procession of carnival puppets was his smile: it was like watching a smile on legs! And every time I glimpsed him throughout the day on the screen in the Cathedral, the smile was ever there. I wonder if a smile can only grow that deep and genuine when someone has stared into the darkness but is confident of the promises of God in the face of evil
 
Archbishop Tutu was a great ambassador for Christian faith. Helpfully he was Anglican and apparently it was enough when trying to explain what an Anglican was in some parts of the world to simply say, “It’s the church Desmond Tutu belongs to”. His joyful faith stood out and spoke to others in a universal language
 
Dove rightHope and joy in the face of adversity are useful themes for us at the start of a New Year. In a world of division and polarised opinions, glimpses of the uniting love of God are to be more treasured than ever. The people who help others to have a glimpse of that joyful love are to be cherished. Being close to God should enable us all to feel that joy and wonder in world and to see that in the face of all humanity, in all its wide and varied diversity. I’ll leave you with these words from an old hymn which could be a useful New Year prayer for us:
Lord, in all our doings guide us; pride and hate shall never divide us;
we'll go on with thee beside us, and with joy we'll persevere!

 


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