BBC Radio 2 - Pause for Thought - Christmas Eve

24/12/2018

The Archbishop delivers a Pause for Thought, asking Do you believe yourself to be a source of joy to God? His pause follows in full...

I began the season of Advent reading a book by Jane Williams, wife of the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Professor Rowan Williams.

In those pages I joined Jane on a brilliant journey discovering the timeless wisdom to be found in some of the world’s greatest paintings.

The book has been leading me into a deeply prayerful response to what so far these paintings have been conveying to me.

Each daily meditation on the chosen painting or Icon ends with a reflection and a prayer. I was challenged to the core of my being by a question Jane Williams posed: “Do you believe yourself to be a source of Joy to God?” What? Me? Sentamu? Yes!

Do you believe yourself to be a source of joy to God?

A Chinese Proverb came to my rescue:

          “I hear and I forget;

          I see and I remember;

          I do and I understand.”

I need to hear, see and do with understanding.

Which reminds me of a story of a Bishop doing a visitation to a parish and staying at the home of the vicar. His five-year-old was so excited and begged his father to allow him to take a cup of tea in the morning, to wake up the Bishop.

The father agreed and they went through the drill. The boy was to knock on the door of the bedroom where the Bishop was sleeping and say, “My Lord, it is the boy with the tea, it is time to wake up”.

In the morning, as practiced, Fred knocked on the door and said, “It is the Lord my boy! Your time is up!”.

Hearing, seeing and doing are performative. Therefore, like all the main characters in the Christmas story – Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the Angels, the Shepherds, the Wise Men – I need wisdom, insight, obedience - delighting in God. Believing I am “a source of joy to God”.

Can I just say, Dr Chris Evans – you have been a source of joy, in your own way, to millions of Radio 2 listeners - including me and my entire family. Thank you and Natasha for your friendship. FANTABULOUS!