Leicester: City of Sanctuary

It was mid of 2019, after spending entire day at the university doing research, finally I was at home. I did my daily prayers after dinner and went to bed. I saw a dream in which there was a room filled with unfamiliar people. There were elders standing at the front, calling each person’s name and others were clapping on hearing it. Then they called my name and I stood to be part of the clapping ritual. However, one elder from the front came to me, with a clock in his hands and put over my head. He declared, this child is anointed. Everyone clapped and I sat down. I woke up next day thinking, what I saw in my dream was something unusual. I immediately opened my bible to find answers for my curiosity.

Few months later, I have to travel from Derby to Leicester. It was unexpected and unfamiliar city for me. Moving was hectic and emotional. After my arrival, I decided to take a walk, to explore this beautiful city. At the town centre, I saw this iconic tower at the centre, connecting all roads. I understood, what I saw few months back. The other clock tower I knew is in London.

Clock Tower Leicester

Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back at least two millennia. The city lies on the River Soar and close to the eastern end of the National Forest. It is to the north-east of Birmingham and Coventry, south of Nottingham, and west of Peterborough. However, having rich history, what makes this city special is King Richard III.

Richard III, the final ruler of the Plantagenet dynasty, was killed on 22 August 1485 in the Battle of Bosworth Field, the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses. His body was taken to Greyfriars Friary in Leicester, where it was buried in a crude grave in the friary church. A search for Richard’s body began in August 2012, initiated by the ‘Looking for Richard’ project with the support of the Richard III Society. The archaeological excavation was led by the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, working in partnership with Leicester City Council. In September 2012, a human skeleton belonging to a man in his thirties was uncovered showing signs of severe injuries. It was concluded that the skeleton was that of Richard III because of the DNA evidence and the shape of the spine. In 2015 Richard III was reburied in pride of place near the high altar in Leicester Cathedral. The tombstone over the grave rests on a black Kilkenny marble plinth, which bears Richard’s name, coat of arms, the dates of his life (1452-1485) and his motto, “Loyaulte me lie“, meaning “loyalty binds me“.

Richard III Tomb at Leicester Cathedral

During the lockdown, most people living in Leicester, including myself, enjoyed walking and exercising at various parks. There are some great parks in Leicester; Abbey Park, Botanic Gardens, Castle Gardens, Grand Union Canal, Knighton Park, Nelson Mandela Park, River Soar, Victoria Park, and Watermead Country Park. I personally enjoyed walking in Victoria Park for my prayer-walks, as it brings back good memories of me living in London.

War Memorial, Victoria Park Leicester

There are many other great things about Leicester. However, the one which really excites me is the diversity of this city – this is the real strength of this city. I have heart for people from different faith and race backgrounds. As an ambassador and servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, I believe and pray when the bibles gives me this assurance in Philippians chapter 2 verse 1o to 11. God has provided us with great opportunity to reach people and help them.

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10-11

In terms of ethnic composition, 50.6% of the population is White, 37.1% Asian (28.3% Indian, 2.4% Pakistani, 1.1% Bangladeshi, 1.3% Chinese, 4.0% Other Asian), 3.5% of mixed race, 6.3% Black (3.8% African, 1.5% Caribbean, 1.0% Other Black), 1.0% Arab and 1.6% of other ethnic heritage. Alongside English, around 70 languages and/or dialects spoken in the city. In addition to English and the primary western and central European languages, eight ethnic languages are sometimes heard: Gujarati is the preferred language of 16% of the city’s residents, Punjabi 3%, Somali 4% and Urdu 2%. Other smaller language groups include Hindi, Bengali.

In this blog, I will end it by quoting Dwight L. Moody before I pray, “When a man is filled with the Word of God you cannot keep him still, If a man has got the Word, he must speak or die.

I believe that if it was God’s will for me to arrive at Leicester, then I am on His assignment. I pray that I make the most of it before my next assignment. Fred Drummond, director of Evangelical Alliance Scotland, has written following prayer for the church:

Lord, we look back to last year.
Thank you for every sign of your grace.
For every life transformed.
For every broken life healed.
Every lost person found.
Every one far off brought near.
Every sinner saved.

Lord it is all about you
Your grace,

Lord, this year we pray for:
greater love for the lost,

Help your Church rise up to seize the day
believing that there are no ​“no-go” areas for you Lord.
No people that cannot be reached.
No chains that cannot be broken.

So Lord, send us into this year
longing for your presence and for your glory to fall anew.
Igniting us with an unquenchable flame.
Bringing light, hope and love wherever you send us.

In Jesus’ name
Amen

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