Transcript of the Archbishop Justin Welby's Thought for the Day on Radio 4's Today programme this morning.
I suppose I could start by singing “Ding Dong merrily on high, in Heaven the bells are ringing …” but my singing is so terrible that apart from being seen as very political and thus unacceptable, you would all suffer. The same probably applies to “Abide with me, fast falls the eventide, the darkness deepens …” even if I used the words sung in church and not those on the terraces.
Which makes me think, from my years living in Liverpool as Dean of the Cathedral, it’s got to be “You’ll never walk alone” the send-shudders-up-your-spine anthem of Liverpool FC. It reflects the pain and glory of that great club in its great city.
On this day of leaving the European Union it speaks to all our moods.
It is a song of hope if you feel all is well and this evening at 11:00 we will achieve what you have longed for over many years and fought and struggled for when all seemed hopeless.
It is a song of hope if this will be an evening of deep disappointment, the end of dreams.
It is a song of hope if you are unsure, passionate neither one way or another, but just wanting firm settled direction and purpose.
Hope is hard to maintain alone, even when our hopes are fulfilled. Life has a way of sticking a foot in front of us and tripping us up just when we are on a roll.
For our future to work we must make it work together. We must be united in a common vision for our country, however great our differences on achieving it, a common hope for what we want to happen, and what we want to do in the years to come. Jesus said that a kingdom divided cannot stand. And he made sure that his followers knew that they would never walk alone, if they just asked him. He spoke of the blessings we received when we bless others. He spoke of blessing the poor, and so being blessed, of being peacemakers and so being blessed. All the blessings of what are called the beatitudes come from generous, confident, united outgoing attitudes.
So, joyful or sad, let’s hold our heads up high, say a prayer for the future, look upwards, and we’ll never walk alone.
You know, I feel a song coming on - but happily for the national breakfast tables I’ve run out of time.