03 March 2015

When we tire of demanding
justice, we are tired of life

Protesters outside Downing Street this afternoon demanding justice in Mexico (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

I have spent a busy working day in London, meeting the trustees and staff of Us, the Anglican mission agency previously known as USPG (the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel).

This is one of the oldest Anglican mission agencies dating back to 1701, and last year [2014] it commemorated the 300th anniversary of its presence in Ireland.

But I began this busy working day with prayers in both Saint Dunstan’s Church, a Christopher Wren gem in Fleet Street, where I prayed about today’s Gospel reading, and in Saint Paul’s Cathedral, where I visited the monument to John Donne and the side chapel which is reserved for prayer and which holds one of the two original versions of Holman Hunt’s painting, The Light of the World – the first image of Christ that I remember being shown in my childhood by my grandmother.

My day at the Us offices in Southwark ended at about 3 p.m., leaving me a narrow window of opportunity to take photographs of some locations associated with the Duke of Wellington for a feature I am planning to write on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, which was fought in 1815.

The locations included Waterloo Station, a pub nearby called the Wellington, and Wellington Barracks, which was named in honour of the “Iron Duke,” who is one of a number of Irish-born politicians who became British Prime Minister.

Later, I walked back down Birdcage Walk to Westminster and into Whitehall, where a group of people was staging a protest outside the Prime Minister’s residence at Downing Street. There was a Mexican state visit to London today, and they were protesting at the recent murders of teachers and students in Mexico.

It was good to reminded of social justice and oppression in a day of conversations about the meaning and relevance of mission today.

I also paid a short visit to Samuel Johnson’s House in Gough Square, off Fleet Street and close to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. There I was reminded of a dictum from the saintly Lichfield lexicographer dictum: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired life.”

I imagine too when one tires of demanding social justice, one is tired of life.

Good advice from Samuel Johnson in London today (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

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