Hearing grief stricken cries as petals were released from the ceiling was incredibly challenging to remain composed. The silence at St.Paul’s Cathedral was tangible as we stood collectively having heard the names of every 7:7 victim read out. I found myself praying for the families and friends throughout the service, so aware that the mood of shock and grief was as fresh as it was ten years ago. I was thankful to be able to be there, representing Billy Kennedy (Pioneer) as one of the Presidents of Churches Together in England because London is my home. It is where I seek to make a positive difference in everything I give myself to – from family to friends – neighbours to work colleagues – school to police force – church to the capital. It is where I pray and invest my energies. It is where our children go to school. It is where I live.
Another such occasion of representing one of the Presidents was pre-elections 2015. There was a call to pray and stand together. A wonderful idea so when I arrived at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, and stepped into the inner sanctum, I reaslied I was the only woman. Not only that, everyone was getting robed and preparing for processing out and I looked the odd one out. (In our church tradition, we do not robe.) In moments like that, we have a choice. Do I retreat inside myself and say nothing? Do I choose to feel less about myself and consider myself inferior? Do I burst in loudly in order to make statement?
I would suggest non of the above. I would pause, know you are there because God has anointed you, not simply that man has appointed you, and seek to make friends. I introduced myself to the Cardinal, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the other Presidents representing the Pentecostal, Free Churches and Greek Orthodox Churches and quietly got on with the job at hand. I was grateful for the friendliness of everyone as we got into the reason why we were gathered. To pray for our nation.
Over the last 25 years, I have had to make such choices in an array of different situations – from church to business – institutions to events. And even though for all of us, there are different situations which cause us to retreat or burst in loudly and out of our own insecurities, each one of us is chosen by God, is special, unique and has a purpose which has our name written on it. Psalm 139:14 says we are fearfully and wonderfully made and were known by God in our mothers’ womb. That is incredible. So whatever our gender, age, ethnicity or social standing, we ALL have a unique contribution to make so let’s give ourselves humbly and confidently.
Author – Linda Ward.