“The Church, though, is a suffering church in this century. It is growing and in growing it suffers. It carries a cross. That is as true today as ever, and the last few years have demonstrated the truth and cost of that reality. A couple of weeks ago, Caroline and I were in Lahore in Pakistan. Just incidentally. . . just remember in your prayers our diplomatic service around the world. We’ve seen a lot of them in the last year; they are unbelievably good and they get absolutely no credit, anywhere, for the extraordinary work they do [applause]. . . But in Lahore two weeks ago we met some of the clergy and the Bishop of Peshawar who were involved in the bomb explosion last September at All Saints Church, an Anglican church, in which over 200 people were killed. And you ask them: “How are things recovering? Are people still going to church?” “Oh,” they said. “The congregation has tripled.” It is a suffering church and a church of courage.
“In the routine list of dioceses around the world that we pray for, last week was Damaturu, which almost none of you probably would have heard of, in north-east Nigeria. I know the bishop there; that the people of that diocese have been scattered to the four winds by Boko Haram. Its bishop is in hiding and danger is all around for those few Christians who remain. The girls of Chibok kidnapped and still held were from a part of that region, which is a Christian part. The global Church is a profoundly suffering church.
“It is cross-shaped. It carries a cross of suffering, but also it carries a cross for the salvation of the world. That has always been a scandal since the first few centuries. Early doubters, attackers of the Christian Church said: “How can you worship someone who died on a cross?” But it is a scandal of which we should be proud. We boast in the cross of Christ.
Read it all.