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A spiritual comment and prayer to begin the day with Canon Steve Williams

2 minutes

Last on

Tue 11 Dec 2018 05:43

Canon Steve Williams

Good morning.

Both Houses of Parliament begin their business each day with a prayer.  No matter how critical or mundane the items on the agenda, they are first presented in the public realm with a request for divine help in deliberation.   I don't see this as a quaint ritual nor a sinister religious bid for power.   Rather, I think it's a recognition that, as a nation and as individual human beings, we don't face difficult decisions or insoluble situations alone.  We're part of a greater network of belonging.  And it's here that we have to exercise a degree of trust... you might use the word, "faith".   Most people think that means having a clear vision, and sticking to it, through thick and thin.  But, really, it means living with uncertainty - knowing that answers and solutions are hard to find, and require perseverance and co-operation with others.   The spirit in which you make a big decision is as important as the actual decision itself, because it's no more than a staging post on a journey.    

Yesterday marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death of a Trappist monk whose writings inspired a generation of people seeking God in the mess of everyday life - Thomas Merton.  His prayer led him to campaign for social justice - but always within a relationship with a God who knew his human frailty.  To sum up his most famous prayer, he said:  " My Lord God, I have no idea where I'm going.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.  If I do this,  you'll lead me by the right road even though I may know nothing about it.  You'll never leave me to face my perils alone".