To some it was an unfortunate accident, yet it is becoming clear that God had much wisdom in putting Occupy LSX right on the steps of Britain’s leading Cathedral.
Although there have been some bumpy patches in the relationship between St. Paul’s and the Occupy camp, the new emphasis on dialogue has enabled the Bishop of London and St. Paul’s Chapter to show a Christian kindness – that of showing those who have often had no voice other than protest that they can engage in constructive political debate within the system whilst at the same time protecting their status as those “outside of the system”. On the 7th December representatives from Occupy London met with the FSA and it has been reported that the discussions were fruitful.
There have also been moves by the Christian community to engage with the protesters, and on the 1st December the Not Ashamed Campaign held a rally and prayer meeting on the steps of St. Paul’s which included listening to Occupiers and also speaking to them of the necessity of Jesus – that only He can truly be Saviour and Lord.
It is wonderful to hear of such actions.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
In a separate move, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote an insightful piece for the Radio Times magazine and asked the question of what Jesus would be doing in regards to Christmas and the Occupy protests.
He stressed that it is not a question of whether Jesus would support or oppose Occupy, but that He would not be sitting quietly by yet rather be there and be asking some searching questions on motives.
Despite many reports claiming Williams was saying Jesus would take sides, he was careful not to give endorsement nor condemnation, but rather to get to the heart of the matter – our heart.
It is, indeed, an encouragement that many Christians from various denominations and of various hues and influence are each, in their own particular way, engaging with Occupy LSX and seeking to use the wonderful God-given opportunities to reach out to, to listen to, and to both encourage and challenge the Occupiers.
In many ways the work here at Church Peace is being done in a God-ordained organic way without Church Peace needing to shout out, and that is good. But the need to reach out to the wider protest movement and to defend the peaceable nature of the current protests and Church response is still required.