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Rector's View - February 2011

Dear friends,

A little girl on her first visit to a cathedral spent quite some time gazing at the stained glass windows depicting many different saints. Shafts of coloured light fell on her and on the stone floor beside her. Eventually her mother came to see why she was standing in one spot for so long. Stopping her mother in mid-sentence the little girl said : "I know who the saints are - they're the people who let the light shine through." Out of the mouths of babes…

All Christians are called to be saints - we are all called to let Christ's light shine through us. Sadly, sections of the Church of England have encouraged their members to be rather suspicious, if not dismissive, of the saints. Too often we think of the saints as people who lived a very long time ago and who are not very much like us. Neither of these things are necessarily so. If they are not very much like us then perhaps we ought to allow God to make us more like them. What God has done for, and with the saints he can and will do for us, if we are open to him in our lives. Secondly, many of the saints did indeed live a long time ago, we can still learn from them, but also we have known of others in our own lifetimes.

I am very pleased that more modern day saints are now commemorated in the Church of England's calendar. One particularly notable example of a modern day saint is commemorated on 17th February:

Janani Luwum was born in 1922 at Acholi in Uganda. His childhood and youth were spent as a goatherd, but he quickly showed an ability to learn, when given the opportunity. He soon became a teacher and at that time became convinced of the truth of Christianity. He became an enthusiastic and committed Christian, eventually being ordained in 1956. He became Bishop of Northern Uganda in 1969 and Archbishop of Uganda in 1974.

Idi Amin had come to power in Uganda in 1971, as the result of a military coup, and his undemocratic and harsh rule was the subject of much criticism by the Church and others. After the bishop's sent a letter to the President, protesting at the virtual institution of state murder, Janani and two of Amin's own government ministers were stated to have been found dead following a car accident. It soon emerged, however, that they had in fact died on the instructions of the President.

Janani's enthusiasm for the Gospel of Christ combined with his willingness to sacrifice even his own life for what he passionately believed in, led him to his martyrdom on 17th February 1977.

God's light shines through His saints in every age - may we be numbered amongst them.

With every blessing.

Stephen

Rev'd Stephen Abbott

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Last Modified Friday 08 June 2012