A Visitor Tells Of Slave Trade Healing

After seven week-ends on the job elsewhere, I succumbed to a nasty urinary infection which does not allow me to leave home until the anti-biotics do their job. But thank God for one visitor whose story I now relate.

David Pott walked from Hexham to Lindisfarne. He is the leader of the Lifeline Expedition, a Christian response to the legacy of the Atlantic slave trade. In recent years he has walked with a team along the meridian from Greenwich to the heart of Africa, in chains, to symbolise their recognition of the slavery their forebears promoted among Africans, and wearing T shirts which say ?Sorry?. The Vice-:President of Gambia was so moved to meet them that she personally took the chains from them and forgave them. Scenes like that, as those of England?s two Anglican Archbishops (one white, one black) leading the team in a procession of penance and healing in a former slave port city, have hit the headlines. But David told me stories of individuals of African descent who have experienced healing of false self image during their travels together.

My visitor brought more good news still. He told of the diary he has written about his aged parents? recent deaths, for they were good deaths indeed, and worthy to be treasured and learned from. David believes that if a child and a dying parent can talk about death openly, with no skeletons in the cupboard, they become free to grow ? in heaven and on earth. His parents did not cling on to life, nor were their children saying ?Don?t leave us? ? instead they recalled or did things the parents enjoyed, had a wedding anniversary party shortly before mother?s death which included a letter from the Queen, and shared Scriptures, prayers and plans that built one another up.

Northumbria Community has published David?s notes as a booklet entitled Journeying Home: thoughts on dying well (www.cloistersonline.com). It includes this paraphrase of George MacDonald:

Come now, live in us. Let us stay in You, since if we be all in You we cannot be far from one another, though some may be in heaven and some may be on earth.

Then I heard that my dear friend Hazel had died at Bowthorpe, and I made this our prayer for her.

Posted at 11:26am on 24th February 2008
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