This Sunday is Peace Sunday and the theme for this year is ‘Migrants and Refugees – Seekers of peace’. No one can be unaware of the tens of thousands of people around the globe who have been displaced and forced to leave their homes because of violence or climate – related disasters. Many in this country have responded to the invitation to shelter the stranger and more are involved in campaigns to stem this tragic flow in their work to challenge the arms trade and to protect our environment. With this timely theme, we are all invited to reflect on our role to be peacemakers, and peace seekers today. The bidding prayers for Masses this weekend are those suggested by ‘Pax Christi’ in response to the request of Pope Francis to pray at this time for peace and for migrants and refugees.
Last week the new cradles that have been fitted within the lantern tower for access up and down the highest internal section of the Cathedral were finally commissioned. This included training sessions on their use for some of our Security and Maintenance staff and Cathedral architect and surveyor. I politely turned down the offer of training – I was quite happy climbing the previous internal ladders to the top but there was no way I was going up the highest section of the building solely reliant upon electronically controlled cables that have you suspended in mid air. In the course of the afternoon training session the person co-ordinating the training turned round and saw another person who had come through the external hatch and joined the group at the top of the Cathedral and who didn’t have a harness on. When asked who he was it turned out that he had climbed up the buttresses of the Cathedral and just thought he would see if he could get some internal photos as he had a camera attached to his headgear. As much as we like to be open and inclusive to people this was neither the location nor place where this was suitable. We have seen images online of the occasional extreme climber at the top of our Cathedral which not only endangers themselves but also those who may have to rescue them if they got into difficulty and the fact is they are trespassing on private property often with resultant damage caused by their actions. The offending interloper was accompanied down from the heights of the Cathedral and met by a police officer at ground level.
From Friday we keep an octave of prayer for Christian Unity. As part of this time of prayer there will be a joint service of Choral Evensong at Liverpool Cathedral next Sunday at 3pm with clergy and choirs from both Cathedrals taking part. You are most welcome to come along to share this time of prayer together to signify our unity in the Spirit and in witness to the values of the Gospel. Dr Christopher McElroy will be giving the address at the service.
Living Lord, in a dark hour you spoke of the gift of peace. We seek that gift for ourselves. Grant us, we pray, the inner serenity which you alone can give, that we may become messengers of peace to a strife torn world.
Canon Anthony O’Brien