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How heartening to read in the newspaper today that Ariana Grande has been made an honorary citizen of Manchester.
 “Love is stronger than evil,” was the theme of the second Ariana Grande concert in Manchester which I watched on my computer screen. To be honest I felt the music belonged to a generation other than mine, and anyway I could not understand the sung words.
But what a thrill to hear every performer, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, standing before the throng, and proclaiming, “LOVE OVERCOMES EVIL, YES ? ”, and then readily receiving the vociferous agreement of that huge gathering of youth. It really was a magnificent ‘liturgy’, if the clerical purists will permit me to use the term in this context !
“Liturgy” means “the work of the people of God”, and whatever the allegiances of that mass of people, surely they were the People of God in that very moment of proclaiming what is in  the hearts of all  “Believers of the Book”, (Jews, Christians and Muslims), and at the heart of human existence.
I was reminded of the Bataclan massacre in Paris and the words of Antoine Leiris to his wife’s killers:
“On Friday night you stole away the life of an exceptional being;  the love of my life, the mother of my son. But you will not have my hatred.
I do not know who you are, and I don’t want to know  -  you are dead souls. The God for whom you killed so blindly made us in his image: so each bullet in my wife’s body would have been a wound in God. Therefore I will not give you the gift of hating you.   You have obviously sought it, but responding to it with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that has made you what you are”.
Somewhere, somewhere in these experiences are surely to be found still, the strong roots of our faith whether we be Jew Christian or Muslim;  roots which have survived the toxic materialism of our age buried as it were, underground. Their legitimacy at Manchester was confirmed by the accompaniment of sheer joy,  the joy that goes with true faith, that joy of which Popes Benedict and Francis have both spoken eloquently.
How can these roots be enabled to sprout again ?    The Leader of Manchester City Council said of Ariana, “. . . a young American woman for whom it would have been understandable if she never wanted to see this place again”. . .  “determined not to perform again until she had returned to Manchester”. Overcoming the thoughts of a possible recurrence of the tragedy, she came back, drawing all her rejoicing fans with her.

If there is to be a revival of our faith, it will be because believers give a generous and joy filled witness  to the love they profess. Both of those qualifications are vital.


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22nd March 2018
Dear Bloggers,
No, I didn’t drop dead ! But you haven’t had anything from me for a few months, because I have been unwell. However, I’m now back on an even keel and about to resume my postings which I do hope you will find interesting. Don’t hesitate to respond if you should wish to make a comment !

“Bede at Worth”


A HOMILY PREACHED IN WORTH ABBEY CHURCH 25th JUNE 2017Do not be afraid”, says Jesus to his disciples in Mathew’s Gospel Ch 10,26. You know, I really don’t think he meant them to try to eliminate or ignore the fear that would come into their lives. You can’t just wave it away, you can’t do that; and after all, Jeremiah lived with it: some of his enemies threw him into an abandoned well hoping that he would starve to death in the mud. Fortunately others came and rescued him. And Jesus in Gethsemane lived with it as he fulfilled his Father’s will for our salvation. No, the context of this teaching seems to say that we must not allow our fears or apprehensions to dictate to us. Three years ago on 23rd May Archbishop Romero of El Salvador was beatified. His story is human and moving. He had been made a rural bishop, later being promoted to Archbishop in the metropolis at a time when conservative elements in Rome were making episcopal appointments; he was regarded as a ‘safe conservative’. …
The BBC’s publication of salaries paid to television and radio performers is an admirable step towards greater transparency, and predictably has produced and will continue to produce much discussion. Surely the injustice of the pay differential between the sexes will at last be dealt with. Then there is the obvious question about the scale of remuneration for people who have become celebrities through their work at the BBC. What does it feel like to wake up in the morning aware that your £1 or £2m package is being paid for by the man in the street through his taxes and the licence fee ? On the other hand if these levels are not paid, will the BBC lose these talented folk ?  And would that outcome be desirable or not ?  It is not my wish to pronounce publicly on these questions, though I have my opinions like everyone else. But I am interested here in how a Christian mind approaches them. 
I want to be among the first to salute the BBC for its immense achieve…