The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Making your words count

Within the space of just five days, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, did two pretty remarkable things.

On Saturday 6 May he crowned and anointed the King. And, on Wednesday 10 May, he stood up in the House of Lords and criticised the Government’s controversial Illegal Migration Bill.

What a week, right?

Christianity was put on display at the Coronation. Whether it looked like the way we ‘do’ God or not, Jesus was represented in Westminster Abbey. And whilst I loved watching Archbishop Justin tell the whole world about Jesus amidst such a mighty moment in history, I felt even more resonance with the way he represented Jesus when standing up for the vulnerable just three days later.

Don’t worry, I won’t wade into the politics of it all. It’s just that, watching the Archbishop put himself in the eye of the storm and use his voice to speak on behalf of the voiceless – well, it’s the moment that felt particularly Jesus-like to me.

Because isn’t this a major part of what we’re called to do? Hasn’t the Archbishop, in doing this, displayed an integral aspect of our holistic mission to see God’s kingdom come and his will be done?

All of the words spoken at the Coronation, the music played, the promises made, the artefacts displayed – they would mean nothing if that’s all that remained.

But it was the Archbishop’s words in the House of Lords which made them count. The Jesus spoken about from the golden pulpit on Saturday was the same Jesus who inspired the words from the bench on Wednesday. I’m glad the world saw that.

I’m no Archbishop of Canterbury. And nor are you – unless you actually are, in which case, hi Justin. But I guarantee that the people you interact with every day are seeking evidence that backs up the words you speak. If we’ve told our friends that Jesus cares, they’ll expect us to display it by being there when they need us. If we’ve spoken to our colleagues about justice, they’ll expect us to represent it in the way we act in our workplace. If we’ve promised our families grace, they’ll expect we embody it, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.

As James so sassily said, ‘Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds’ (James 2:18). Day in and day out, I’m reminded that my life needs to make my words count.

Belle Tindall
Reporter, Centre for Cultural Witness


  1. I saw a cartoon by Jeff Lucas in the Premier Christianity magazine the other day which had on it a poster in a parking lot which read “Have You Prayed and Displayed?”, which I really liked!

    By William Riley  -  19 May 2023
  2. Great thought – a fine antidote to my slightly downbeat feeling about the pomp, bling and strange religious symbolism in the coronation that I felt somewhat disguised the power of the gospel to the average punter. Permit me to share a poem on the same theme of ‘walking the walk’. The ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer initiative, started 8 years ago by the two Archbishops, is kindly sharing my daily poems linking to their ‘Novena’ reflections, on their social media. Blessings.

    Let me not be like a shadow
    Hollow, haggard, ghostly, pale
    Walking in my strength alone
    Buffeted, and bound to fail
    No, let me be clothed with Jesus
    Spirit-power, and not just talk
    Showing forth his vibrant colours
    Filled, equipped to walk the walk

    By Bruce Gulland  -  19 May 2023
  3. Would be great if the archbishop took more of a lead in taking God at His word from His word rather than facilitating social orthodoxy to speak words to the ‘church’ about it’s application of God’s word.

    That’s an archbishop who might look and sound more like Jesus.

    Jesus never buckled, so far as I can tell, in applying His Father’s word’s in any given situation. Didn’t take too kindly to those complicit in compromise either, if I recall correctly. And He certainly made His life make His words count. Still transforming the world now, as a result.

    By Brian Smith  -  19 May 2023

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