Today, I watched and listened to a wonderful interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. It’s more than 40 minutes, but it’s worth listening every minute.
Let me share with you what striked me along this interview. It’s most of all the Christ-centeredness of his words and thoughts troughout the interview. “It’s all about Jesus; that’s what matters”. That may not sound very special, but in fact it is. Right in the beginning of the interview, being asked about the way he experienced his enthronement, he says: “It’s not about me, it’s all about Jesus…”. It runs through the whole story, whether he is speaking about the vision for the church or about his own experience of grief and loss.
Let me single out three moments which striked me particularly.
- The most impressive moment is when Welby tells about the loss of his daughter by a terrible accident (14.00-17.30). He is deeply honest about the painfullness of this experience. You can hear and feel the grief in the words he speaks. But at the same time, listen to what he says as well: “We were deeply surrounded by love and most of all by the love of Christ, who sustained us through that. It’s still a pretty rare day I don’t think about Joanna. (…) And yet it’s never to think about her, without remembering the almost tangible way in which Christ held her and us and holds us still.”
- The second thing I’d like to underscore his vision for the church. Take for example his words: “It’s natural for a church to grow”. But in his mouth, it’s not a new law, imposed on church-leaders. It’s embedded in a strong emphasis on the work of Christ and his Spirit. God uses and transforms our ideas for the church with great love. Talking about his vision he says: “The vision was a clear proclamation about who Christ is and a deep commitment for the transformation of society. (…) The vision was about taking risks. We need to be a risk-taking church. There is no safety in Christ. There is absolutely security, but there is no safety. But we have to make a big difference between knowing that we are in his arms and knowing that he calls us to do risky things. So the vision is about a risk-taking church and finding ways of liberating people to be risk-takers in the service of Christ.” (30.45-31.40). Very inspiring!
- The third highlight for me was the closing part of the interview, when Justin Welby talks about his prayer life. A few things appealed to me. First, the honesty in the opening words, when being asked about his prayer life: “Not good enough…”. Second, the way he talks about his meditating prayer in the early about a passage of Scripture, usually with a commentary in order to understand better. “When God is speaking to me through a passage, I don’t move on till I’ve exhausted that passage”. And finally, I was struck between his words about the role of confession in his prayer life. “Most of the early part of my prayers is repentance and seeking the forgiveness of God and the knowledge of that forgiveness in my own life; and being honest with Him about who I am and where I am.”
Once more, the interview made a deep impression on me. It inspires me to work in the Lord’s service with vision and honesty. “It’s all about Jesus”.