The pilgrimage began today. The group from London flew from Heathrow, others flew from Bergen, a couple headed off on the train. Eventually all arrived in Frankfurt. All, except me. The terrible events of Saturday evening, the terrorist attack on people on London Bridge and in the Borough Market, has meant that I had to make the difficult decision – stay or go. In the end I had to stay. The Cathedral cannot open. Being at the centre of all that happened we are at the heart of the cordon that the Metropolitan Police have established so that the forensic investigations can take place.
To be honest it feels, well, weird. Being unable to get into the place where we worship and work and, day after day, welcome people constantly through the doors is like being made homeless. I have realised how much our ministry is about reflecting the hospitality of God. Open doors, space for people to pray, or sit, or cry, or whatever they need space for is fundamental to who we are and what we do. Of course, we can worship outside, visit people where they are, go out rather than welcome in, but there is something that is lacking.
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.’ (Isaiah 56.7)
That was a prophecy quoted by Jesus as he cleansed the Temple and effectively welcomed all the nations in. That is our vision, not just in the Cathedral but in the community around it. This is a house for all peoples, a community for all peoples, restoring that as a reality is the work that lies before us.
I need to be here, to work with my colleagues in holding the community together and seeing us back into the Cathedral. Please pray for us as we endeavour to do that.
I hope that I will be able to post some pictures from the Luther Pilgrimage and share some experiences that others are having. In the meantime, I do have my model Martin Luther to keep me company.
God of the nations,
wherever we are,
whoever we are,
you welcome us.
Your house is our house,
your house our home.
Bless us in the journey
that lies before us.