Archbishop on Thought for the Day

Justin Welby's enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral Archbishop Welby sat in the Chair of St Augustine as part of his enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral

The new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, has used BBC Radio 4's Thought For The Day to deliver an Easter message of hope to people affected by the adverse economic conditions at home and abroad.

This is a transcript of his broadcast:

Archbishop Justin Welby

  • Studied history and law at Trinity College Cambridge.
  • Was an oil executive for 11 years before becoming a priest.
  • Served as Dean of Liverpool Cathedral before becoming Bishop of Durham in 2011.
  • Has come close to death on reconciliation projects in Africa.

Source: BBC Religion and Ethics

" This week Cyprus became the latest country to need a bail out from the European Union, the IMF and others. By the standards of the last few years the money involved was small, €10 billion, but the impact is overwhelming.

On Wednesday I saw, side by side, two stories about the bail-out. One told of a deal done, an agreement reached, and satisfaction over the job completed. The other revealed companies running out of cash, people in despair, a whole country heading into penury, not just the banking sector.

At that point, there was not even much rage, just grim acceptance.

Start Quote

Whoever you are, whether rulers and rich, or ordinary people ...the death of Jesus is both a challenge and a promise of hope”

End Quote Archbishop of Canterbury

As we all know well, where you stand determines what you see. Good editing of that paper made me see two views. The impact was more powerful because neither made any comment. They just told the story.

In the different accounts of the crucifixion there is a similar grim sense of factual narrative. The remorseless process of crucifixion is recounted sparingly.

Thought for the day

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  • Thought for the Day is a topical reflection from a faith perspective by speakers from major world faiths
  • It is broadcast Monday to Saturday at just after 7.45am as part of Radio 4's Today programme
  • Subscribe to the podcast or listen or read online

The injustice of trial, the casual flogging, the mockery, are narrated without much description of the emotion or pain. Two groups went away at the end of the process. One was the ruling class. A tough but necessary job was done, and done well and neatly.

The others were the women who supported Jesus and a few disciples. They left traumatised, fearful, despairing, every dream of the future gone.

Both were wrong.

The rulers discovered that God is not held down by human failure and foolishness, even by human evil and injustice. They saw Jesus as a mere man, and loaded hate and fear onto him.

They did not realise that the power of the love that God expressed in Him would swallow the hate and destroy it.

The women discovered that the love they knew was more than merely human. They saw Jesus as wonderful but defeated. The next few days would show that he was in fact utterly triumphant and far more than wonderful.

Good Friday is an extraordinary day. Whoever you are, whether rulers and rich, or ordinary people dealing with the worst of times, the death of Jesus is both a challenge and a promise of hope. The challenge is to show that same self-giving love for the sake of others.

The promise is that nothing is beyond His reach and even despair can be healed."

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