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Written by:
Trinity Hall
12 Apr 2020

Terry Waite CBE, the humanitarian and author, spent 1,763 days in captivity in the Lebanon, the first four years of which were spent in solitary confinement. Following his release in 1991 he was elected a Fellow-Commoner of Trinity Hall, where he was able to write about his experience. This is his Easter thought for the day.

At the heart of our existence lies a deep mystery and to give meaning and coherence to life people everywhere find concepts and images that enable that mystery to be more fully comprehended. Of course, there will be those who take religion absolutely literally just as there are those who understand the various stories as pointing to spiritual truths.

Christ himself was not really a ‘religious’ man: in fact he deeply upset the religious personages of his day. It has been my experience that when I have met individuals from different theistic traditions and learned something of their experience there has been a great deal of common agreement about matters spiritual. There is no doubt that ‘religion’ has been a contributor to many evils in the world, just as it has inspired much that is good and wholesome. The following lines, in the final verse of the next poem, might, I trust, capture something of the essence of what Christ himself taught and practised.

The kingdom

There is a realm
Beyond time,
Immune to the rigours
Of inquiry
That formulate,
And categorize.

Familiar tools
Fail to illuminate
The highways
Of this kingdom.
A kingdom
Without height,
A kingdom

Not of this world,
But embedded
In the depths
of soul.

How can we know
Such a mystery?
How can we touch
The intangible?
How can we prove
That which cannot be captured
In scientific tables?

Be still.
Listen to the inner voice.
Learn to love.
Let compassion
Guide your actions.
Walk calmly
Through the mists
Of unknowing.
The kingdom is yours.