Robert Runcie: ‘After the Falklands War’ (1)



Robert Runcie :: Robert RuncieOur hope as Christians is not fundamentally in man’s naked goodwill and rationality. We believe that he can overcome the deadly selfishness of class or sect or race by discovering himself as a child of the universal God of love. When a man realizes that he is a beloved child of the Creator of all, then he is ready to see his neighbours in the world as brothers and sisters. That is one reason why those who dare to interpret God’s will must never claim him as an asset for one nation or group rather than another. War springs from the love and loyalty which should be offered to God being applied to some God-substitute, one of the most dangerous being nationalism.

This is a dangerous world where evil is at work nourishing the mindless brutality, which killed and maimed so many in this city last week. Sometimes, with the greatest reluctance, force is necessary to hold back the chaos which injustice and the irrational element in man threaten to make of the world. But having said that, all is not lost and there is hope. Even in the failure of war there are springs of hope. In that great war play by Shakespeare, Henry V says: There is some soul of goodness in things evil, would men observingly distill it out.’ People are mourning on both sides of this conflict. In our prayers we shall quite rightly remember those who are bereaved in our own country and the relations of the young Argentinean soldiers who were killed. Common sorrow should do something to reunite those who were engaged in this struggle. A shared anguish can be a bridge of reconciliation.

Our neighbours are indeed like us. I have had an avalanche of letters and advice about this service. Some correspondents have asked ‘why drag God in?’ as if the intention was to wheel up God to endorse some particular policy or attitude rather than another. The purpose of prayer and of services like this is very different and there is hope for the world in the difference. In our prayers we come into the presence of the living God. We come with our very human emotions, pride in achievement and courage, grief at loss and waste.

We come as we are and not just mouthing opinions and thanksgiving which the fashion of the moment judges acceptable. As we pour into prayer our mourning, our pride, our shame and our convictions, which will inevitably differ from person to person, if we are really present and really reaching out to God and not just demanding his endorsement, then God is able to work upon us. He is able to deepen and enlarge our compassion and to purify our thanksgiving. The parent who comes mourning the loss of a son may find here consolation, but also a spirit which enlarges our compassion to include all those Argentinean parents who have lost sons.

1 thought on “Robert Runcie: ‘After the Falklands War’ (1)

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    sect noun
    a group of people with their own particular set of beliefs and practices, especially within or separated from a larger religious group  ?  sectional 

    brutality noun  
    cruel and violent behaviour, or an event involving cruel and violent treatment : 

    allegations of police brutality
    brutality of
    the brutalities of war

    chaos noun
    a situation in which everything is happening in a confused way and nothing is organized or arranged in order : 

    The country was plunged into economic chaos.
    complete/utter/absolute etc chaos
    There was total chaos on the roads.
    in chaos
    The kitchen was in chaos.

    distill verb 
    to get the main ideas or facts from a much larger amount of information

    distill something into something
    The notes I had brought back were waiting to be distilled into a book.

    anguish noun
    mental or physical suffering caused by extreme pain or worry : 

    the anguish of not knowing what had happened to her

    avalanche noun
    an avalanche of something  

    a very large number of things such as letters, messages etc that arrive suddenly at the same time : 
    The school received an avalanche of applications.

    drag somebody/something  into   something  ( also   drag somebody/something ↔ in )   phrasal verb
    to make someone get involved in an argument, war, or other unpleasant situation that they do not want to be involved in : 
    I’m sorry to drag you into this mess.

    wheel   somebody
    to publicly produce someone or something and use them to help you achieve something : 
    Then the prosecution wheeled in a surprise witness.
    The government wheeled out the same old arguments to support its election campaign.

    endorse verb
    to express formal support or approval for someone or something
    endorse a proposal/an idea/a candidate etc
    The Prime Minister is unlikely to endorse this view.

    compassion noun

    a strong feeling of sympathy for someone who is suffering, and a desire to help them
    compassion for
    compassion for the sick
    feel/show/have compassion
    Did he feel any compassion for the victim of his crime?
    with compassion
    Lieberman explores this sensitive topic with compassion.
    I was shocked by the doctor’s  lack of compassion .

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