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BBC Radio 2 Pause for Thought

Thursday 23rd February 2017

The Archbishop delivers a Pause for Thought about being the salt of the earth. His pause follows in full...


The recent fluctuating weather patterns including Doris seem to match some moods over the state of our world. There is doubt and concern about the integrity and wisdom of some world leaders; uncertainty about the future of Our Own Four Nations.  The phrase ‘in the national interest’ is used by many leaders to justify their own political stance, and peoples in our global village are left wondering what the national interest’ really means.  In one country, ‘the national interest’ justifies bombing sections of their own citizens; in another it means that refugees must be refused entry; and in yet another it means that opposition must be silenced to keep a despotic corrupt leader in office.

Our times seem to some to be precarious and out of joint. How can we reconcile all these different interests, and find what will truly serve the wellbeing and flourishing of all.  How can our interest in peace, hope, justice and generosity of spirit, be served without coming into conflict with others’ interests?

On this day, back in 1959, two national leaders came together at a time of deep national insecurity. The Second World War had been over for 14 years, but there was a real fear of another war, this time with the Soviet Union.  In February that year the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, went to Moscow with this message to the President of Russia, Nikita Khrushchev:

 “In spite of the difficulties and obstacles, let us combine for peace”.  Yes, peace was still a long way off, but Harold Macmillan recognised that individual “national interests” would not suffice to achieve it. British national interest depended on the flowering of international harmony, watered by a universal global interest”.

I believe to know real peace, justice and love is to live in harmony with others. How do we work towards this?   Jesus of Nazareth called his followers to let go of those things which harmed them and others by disciplining their thoughts, feelings and actions, so that Godly behaviour followed naturally.  “Be the salt of the earth”, he said – preserving, purifying and adding flavour to what is good.   May we accept such self-discipline and live at peace with each other.


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