11/09/2016 Songs of Praise


11/09/2016

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Sally Magnusson meets Christians who have responded with faith, hope and love in the face of attacks on their freedom.


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Transcript


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15 years ago today, the world changed for ever.

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On the day we now call 9/11,

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terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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For all its shocking audacity, 9/11 wasn't a one-off.

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And it's been followed by an increasing number of

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terrorist atrocities.

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But amidst the horror there are stories of hope

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and I'm in central London to find them.

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols reflects after his own visits

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to the scenes of the attacks in France.

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The Christian virtue of hope is living an uncertain present

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in the light of a firm and clear future.

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And we hear from former hostage Terry Waite,

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25 years since his release from captivity.

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Never, ever believe

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that there's nothing that the ordinary person can't do.

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When we hear shocking news of terrorist attacks,

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many of us turn to the Church for words of comfort and confidence.

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The hymn writer, Stuart Townend, has tried to find these words

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in our first song.

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Terror attacks can affect anyone. That's what's so terrifying.

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While the grieving goes on for the nearly 3,000 people

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who lost their lives on 9/11,

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others have had to come to terms with more recent attacks.

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Not least, in France.

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Only a few weeks ago, the lorry attack in Nice,

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followed days later by the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in Rouen,

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shook the nation and the world.

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Members of the French congregation of Notre Dame in London

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have been looking for answers in these difficult times.

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The answer is kind of silence and prayer.

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Just to try to get to terms with the shock

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and get to terms with the event itself.

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When praying and when actually centring oneself on Christ,

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we are open to a new way, or Christ's way

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to deal with the situation

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because he was also confronted with violence

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and he reacted in such a way which was peaceful.

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Do you feel afraid?

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No, I wouldn't really feel afraid, I would feel concerned

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and worried but not afraid.

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The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales,

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols, has just returned

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from personal visits to Nice and Rouen.

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In both places, there were two things that struck me.

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One was a cry to God. Quite explicitly -

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"Listen, God, to us, in this sorrow."

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And the other expression was, "This will not break our spirit,

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"our desire and determination to live good, human, trusting lives

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"is stronger than fanaticism."

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What do you make of suggestions

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that churches should be thinking about security now?

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CCTV cameras, bag searches and so on.

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I think most churches will be very quietly reviewing

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their security situation

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but determined not to be turning people away,

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not to become fortresses, not to become places where

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the stranger can't wander in and be welcomed.

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How should we deal with fear?

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Talk.

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Don't bottle it up.

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Express it and explore it in a calm and considered fashion.

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So hope for you is something that is strong?

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Quite often, people think of hope

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as being so secure in the present they can face an uncertain future.

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I rather turn it round.

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The Christian virtue of hope is living an uncertain present

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in the light of a firm and clear future.

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Yes, there will be moments of terrible darkness

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but in the end, a fulfilment will be there for everyone

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who, at least in a marginal way,

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opens their hearts to God and to his design and love.

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It's a painful truth that terrorist attacks occupy

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more headlines these days than ever.

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One man well qualified to take the long view is Terry Waite,

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who was released 25 years ago

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from being a captive in the Lebanon for five years.

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Pam has been to meet him.

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Terry Waite is one of the few who knows

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what it really feels like for a Christian to be held captive,

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tortured, threatened with execution

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and lived to tell the tale.

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Since his release, he's continued to devote much of his time

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to humanitarian and peacekeeping work.

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I've managed to track down Terry Waite here in west London

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at the YMCA, an organisation that he's regularly been involved with

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over the last 25 years.

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Meeting with young people and working to give them opportunities

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is, Terry believes, crucial to building a peaceful future.

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Well, as some people will know,

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I spent almost five years in very extreme circumstances

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in solitary confinement, chained to the wall in a room

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with no natural light, and no books or papers for many years.

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All these years on, when you think back on your captors,

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who treated you so inhumanly, so cruelly, how do you feel about them?

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I didn't fall into Stockholm Syndrome.

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In other words, you know,

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that means that you become totally sympathetic

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and actually join their side. I didn't do that.

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I wouldn't let them off the hook. I always told them,

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"I believe what you have done is inappropriate, is wrong."

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On the other hand, I could understand why they did it.

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They had been brought up in a situation

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where they see nothing but warfare, along comes a charismatic leader,

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persuades them that the way to get what they wish is to fight

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for it and to behave in the way that they behave.

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If you can understand why people behave as they behave,

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that is at least a step towards resolving the conflicts

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that exist between people.

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The world has changed a great deal in 25 years.

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You have spoken about your thought that we are slipping

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towards the start of the Third World War.

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I said that some time ago.

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And you probably noticed the Pope picked up my words.

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I don't think he did, really. But he did actually say the same thing.

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I think it is a serious situation.

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It's a world war that's fought in very, very different ways

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than it was in World War I, World War II.

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Now, at any given moment,

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an act of violence can occur anywhere in the world.

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Any given moment, totally unexpectedly and innocent,

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innocent people are killed.

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Where is God in all this?

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If I was God, I think I'd be despairing at the human condition.

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Somehow we have to learn how to face this new reality

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and how to get to the root of the issue

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and to ask ourselves, "Why are people behaving like that?"

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What is the cause?

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It's not so very long ago that in Syria, Christians,

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Muslims and Jews shared the same place of worship.

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That now has broken down and Christians are being persecuted

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and sent out of that region, and yet, even in that situation,

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Christians and Muslims are still meeting quietly,

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trying to build the barriers.

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I've always said, never, ever believe that there's nothing

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that the ordinary person can't do

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and I think the words of Christ summed it up,

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"Love your neighbour as yourself."

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And those words, if they're followed,

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will lead you to an understanding of the great mystery that is God.

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That was Blessed Be Your Name by Matt and Beth Redman.

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Our next hymn was also written in the midst of tragedy.

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By a 19th century American lawyer, Horatio Spafford,

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after hearing that his four daughters had died

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in a mid-Atlantic shipwreck.

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His wife survived, her two-word telegram, bearing the awful news,

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simply said, "Saved alone."

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Spafford wrote It Is Well With My Soul in response.

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# When peace like a river

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# Attendeth my way

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# When sorrows like sea billows roll

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# Whatever my lot

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# Thou hast taught me to say

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# It is well

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# It is well with my soul

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# It is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well

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# It is well with my soul

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# And, Lord, haste the day

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# When the faith shall be sight

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# The clouds be rolled back as a scroll

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# The trumpets shall sound

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# And the Lord shall descend

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# Even so, it is well with my soul

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# It is well

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# With my soul

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# It is well

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# It is well with my soul

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# It is well. #

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The terrible events of 9/11 commemorated in this garden,

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in Grosvenor Square, unfolded exactly 15 years ago today.

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The writer of our next song, Father Liam Lawton,

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discovered that his words had brought hope

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to one group of New Yorkers in the aftermath of the tragedy.

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I grew up in a home that had a great love of music.

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It was like a second language in our home.

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And then I went to college to do an arts degree.

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I decided to study theology as well and then I was ordained.

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But alongside that, I always kept on the music.

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So I'd been working part-time in the ministry

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and also doing a lot of music as well, workshops

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and performances and composing.

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HE PLAYS PIANO

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I think the music becomes a language that expresses an awful lot

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more than maybe words can.

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My uncle was my music mentor.

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And he was tragically killed in a road accident

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and so for many, many weeks afterwards

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I found it really, really difficult. I went into a dark place.

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I just didn't want to sing, I didn't want to play,

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I didn't want to do anything.

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Somebody had sent me a card,

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and there were two lines in it which said,

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"When the dark clouds veil the sky, I am by your side."

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It was exactly how I was feeling.

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So I sat down that evening and I penned the words for this,

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and I called it The Clouds' Veil.

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So I sang it and I found it a healing experience for me,

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where I was.

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And the day after 9/11, I received a phone call from the United States

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from the publishers, saying they were putting together the music

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for the memorial services and they felt

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that the most appropriate lines were from the piece,

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The Clouds' Veil.

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"When the dark clouds veil the sky, I am by your side."

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And so they asked if I would allow it to be downloaded freely.

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And then there was a girl who sang in New York

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and she sang for the first funeral which was for Father Mychal Judge.

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He was the first person to die in 9/11.

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MUSIC: Amazing Grace

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And so many of the fire officers and the police officers,

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their families were present there as well

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and the song obviously touched a chord with them

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and they asked that she would sing it at their funerals as well.

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It was very poignant and, you know, very touching for me.

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One of the military chaplains took the song

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and they started using it in the Army as well

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so all the young soldiers who are going out to Afghanistan and Iraq

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were given a prayer card with the text of the song on it,

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and a little crucifix which they could carry on their top lapels.

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My belief is that the world will only be healed through beauty.

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And I find that in places like this here,

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I think to bring something worthwhile into the world

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you need a sense of contemplation.

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I think all beautiful music is born out of silence.

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All inspiration, all creativity, needs silence.

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# Even when the sun shall fall in sleep

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# Even when at dawn the sky shall weep

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# Even in the night when storms shall rise

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# You are by my side

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# You are by my side

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# Held in memory

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# The thoughts we have of yesterday

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# May our future be

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# A resting place where love will stay

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# Even though the rain hides the stars

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# Even though the mist swirls the hills

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# Even when the dark clouds veil the sky

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# You are by my side

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# Even when the sun shall fall in sleep

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# Even when at dawn the sky shall weep

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# Even in the night when storms shall rise

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# You are by my side

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# You are by...

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# My side. #

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In July, the Nice lorry attack killed 86 people

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and traumatised many more.

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Esther Serwah was on holiday there with her family

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and stumbled across the scene only minutes after the attack.

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A lot of people were running from the promenade to the marketplace.

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I saw a lot of people on the floor.

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So, I was standing there looking at this,

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and I was wondering, what's all this?

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That's when I realised that all the people on the floor

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was dead bodies and that was the saddest thing to see.

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I decided to go to church to pray because I always have faith.

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I asked myself why this has to have happened.

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I don't have the answer.

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I have a lot of faith in God.

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And my faith helped me to overcome what I saw.

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And I think the Christians,

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we need to be more united

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and pray for those who commit such offences.

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I think, sometimes,

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they themselves don't know the reason why they are doing that.

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Few of us know what to say after a tragedy.

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But some have responded with peaceful action.

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Parishioners at St John on Bethnal Green

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invited local Muslims to join their Sunday service.

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On behalf of my Muslim colleagues who are here this morning,

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we condemn all forms of terrorism in this world.

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It's been a great opportunity to be clear about our faith

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but at the same time to be welcoming

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and to stand together in solidarity with Muslims too.

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We are here to show that Muslims, as well as Christians,

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all believe in love and respect and the loss of any life is tragic.

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We are here united against every difficulty, every hatred,

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every terrorism. We want to pray to Almighty God

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to bring all peace and happiness.

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I think it's important because blue, green, yellow, Latino, black,

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you know, Jew, whatever. We are all people.

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That is the essence of, you know, our humanity.

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The constraints of faith shouldn't be constraints.

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If we can bond and engage and value each other

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then we can actually take a step forward

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and move beyond our comfort zones.

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols believes

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that Christians have good reason to be confident.

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The response for the Christian is to refer all of this

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into the light of faith,

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into the light of Christ's victory over death

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and to affirm again and again that love is stronger than death.

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Make me an instrument of thy peace.

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Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

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When there is injury, pardon.

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Where there is doubt, faith.

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Where there is despair, hope.

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Where there is darkness, light.

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Where there is sadness, joy.

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As we've heard this week, we may live in troubled times

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but peace-making is a choice that's open to all.

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We finish with an uplifting song of praise

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focusing back on the source of Christian hope.

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# My Jesus, my saviour... #

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# Talk to me, baby

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# I'm going blind from this sweet, sweet craving, whoa

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# Let's lose our minds and go for me, baby... #

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The world's greatest half-marathon,

0:34:010:34:03

featuring double Olympic champion Mo Farah.

0:34:030:34:05

The Great North Run...

0:34:050:34:06

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Sally Magnusson meets Christians who have responded with faith, hope and love in the face of attacks on their freedom. And Terry Waite reflects on 25 years since his release from captivity. Hymns include How Deep the Father's Love and There Is a Redeemer.

Music:

King of the Ages from Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool There Is a Redeemer from St Albans Cathedral, St Albans Blessed Be Your Name from Ballydown Presbyterian Church, Banbridge It Is Well with My Soul by Laura Mvula The Clouds Veil by Father Liam Lawton Lord Make Us Servants of Your Peace from St. Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow My Jesus, My Saviour from St. Germain's Church, Birmingham.


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