Maggi Dawn continues her series on her discussions with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York with some observations on them at prayer – and at play. This human story shows that Rowan Williams is not just a leader and an academic, but is also a man of genuine spirituality:
Informal, made-up-on-the-spot prayers are part of their habit of life too. There was a moment when Archbishop Sentamu was about to address a large audience, but had a really sore throat. Archbishop Rowan came to find us, and immediately knelt down beside Archbishop Sentamu to pray. Not in five-syllable words or liturgical language, mind you. He just prays to Jesus, like you and me.
As for play, they don’t have much time for it, but Maggi got this reply from Sentamu to her question “What do you do to relax?”:
“I go to the gym every day,” he replied. “Every day?” I said. “When I’m in York, every day,” he replied. “It’s important. You have to look after yourself.”
There was a brief pause while he looked at me intently. He has this way of looking at you that makes you feel at once scrutinised with great honesty, and yet deeply met with God’s love.
“But what about you?” he asked. “What do you do to relax? I hope you are looking after yourself?”
Good question, Archbishop, for Maggi, for me, and for my readers.