Sunday 09 Mar 2014
Speaking in his annual BBC New Year Message, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, looks ahead to 2011 and the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.
Drawing parallels between the time in which the King James Bible was written and the world today, Dr Williams points to the impact that the Bible has had in putting people's lives into perspective, and explains how it remains relevant for those reading the same stories today – helping them to see the value of their own lives set in the context of our wider beliefs.
Dr Rowan Williams says: "When we try to make sense of our lives and of who we really are, it helps to have a strongly-defined story, a big picture of some kind in the background. As the King James Bible took hold of the imaginations of millions of people in the English-speaking world, it gave them just that – a big picture, a story in which their lives made sense.
"Four hundred years on that may feel quite remote. You may be the sort of person who feels that you can make sense of your own story in your own terms. Or you may feel that there's only one big story and that's about money and whether I've got a job tomorrow or whether my children can afford higher education.
"But the trouble is that we so often don't have the kind of big picture that simply tells us that we matter, never mind what happens, that tells us there is something quite outside ourselves that can eventually make sense of things – even if, like some of the writers of the Bible, specially the Psalms, there are moments where all we can do is shout out in protest."
The Archbishop urges people to see that some kind of 'big picture' matters for them to be able to make sense of their lives, regardless of their beliefs, and especially with the new language which has emerged with 'big society': "Whether you're a Christian or belong to another religion or whether you have nothing you'd want to call religion at all, some kind of big picture matters.
"If we're going to talk about a 'big society', that'll need a big picture, a picture of what human beings are really like and why they're so unique and precious. This year's anniversary is a chance to stop and think about the big picture – and to celebrate the astonishing contribution made by that book 400 years ago."
The Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year Message 2011 airs on Saturday 1 January at 12.35pm on BBC One, and 5.10pm on BBC Two.