Friday, 22 March 2013

Our Confidence Is the Lord

The Archbishop preaches
from St Augustine's Chair
Yesterday, Justin Welby was consecrated as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. Amidst the usual magnificence of such an occasion, Archbishop Welby introduced several innovations. On his arrival (and having to knock to be admitted) the Archbishop was quizzed by the daughter of Asian immigrants, who worship at the Cathedral, as to why he was there. His explanation was that he had come to serve them and to lead them in their worship of Christ. There were several reminders of the worldwide nature of the Anglican Communion. African drummers (from London) accompanied him as he went to read the Gospel Reading. There were songs in African languages and he was blessed in French by the Archbishop of Burundi. Symbols of churches around the world were laid on the altar.

In his sermon, Justin Welby reminded us of the words spoken by Jesus to the frightened disciples: “It’s me!” (or as the Archbishop correctly said “it is I!”) “Don’t be afraid.” He spoke of the confidence that we could have in Christ and how that is able to transform the Church, Society and the world. He gave some examples of Christians changing society in the past, but he did not duck the cost of being a Christian (more Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th century than in the rest of recorded history), nor did he duck the conflicts which exist within our society.

Our rector (Michael Rusk) had the privilege of being in the congregation at the Cathedral. The rest of us, who saw it on television (and could probably see more), were also privileged to be able to join in this joyful event. Archbishop Welby will need all our prayers as he sets out in this challenging job.