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London Times: Why I've pitched my tent inside York cathedral

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:43 AM
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London Times: Why I've pitched my tent inside York cathedral
Why I've pitched my tent in the cathedral
At a time when the Church of England is ignored or ridiculed, John Sentamu's Old Testament protest about the carnage in the Middle East is a cri de coeur, he tells Martin Wroe

....The purple entry flap of John Sentamus canvas home during his seven-day fast for the Middle East matches the episcopal purple of his cassock. From towering ancient walls, the sun breaks through the stained glass to fleck this peculiar religious tableau with patches of light...Every now and then an archbishop hears the voice of God. For Sentamu, born in a village outside Kampala in Uganda 57 years ago and the first black archbishop in the Church of England, it happened watching a television news report. In a Lebanese village an eight-year-old girl had lost an eye and did not yet know that both her parents and brother were dead. Not so far away, in a deserted neighbourhood of northern Israel, an 85-year-old woman sat alone in her flat, the only person left to hear the rockets of Hezbollah screaming through the night.

Sentamu, who became the 97th Archbishop of York only last October, was preparing to set off with his wife Margaret and their two grown-up children on a holiday to Austria. As the crisis in Lebanon spiralled out of control, for some days he had been listening for a divine word but, disappointingly, given the precedent for divine articulation in the region, God seemed to have lost his tongue....His decision to scrap the holiday, move into a tent inside the cathedral and undertake a fast came when he read from the Bible about the disciples of Jesus failing to heal a young boy. They ask Jesus why they couldnt do it, he explains. Jesus replies that it was only by prayer and fasting. And that was my word. I thought, this is the same. Its got to be prayer and fasting...

In another passage from his daily reading, he found the Hebrews erecting a tent while they waited for Moses, somewhere up a mountain in search of Almighty advice. Lebanese refugees, having abandoned their homes, were also camping out in tents. I thought that girl could be my niece, that woman my mother, I thought these people are camping out so I will camp out....

***

For John Sentamu there is another symbol, too, cleverly concealed in his public emphasis that he has given up his holiday, unlike, say, Tony Blair. Was part of his motivation in exchanging his break for a public fast an attempt to heap burning coals on our political classes for their prevarication and weasel words? I was not angry with Blair but I was totally bewildered, he says....

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2320084,00...
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 11:48 AM
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1. what a wonderful gesture...
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IntiRaymi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 02:38 PM
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2. I agree, great gesture.
The act is symbolic, but the symbols all link together different actions in history, in the minds of people aware of these acts.
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-20-06 10:16 PM
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3. well done
THIS is the true face of Christianity - love, compassion, humility. :applause:
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