Princeps Pacis

“Take back the city for yourself tonight

I’ll take back the city for me

Take back the city for yourself tonight

Whoa whoa”

The first few lines from Snow Patrol’s 2008 hit “Take back the city” has always caught my attention,  there was something about the words that spoke to me, beyond the tribute to Belfast, the idea of taking back the city resonates so clearly.

As Preston, Lancashire celebrates the Guild 2012, the idea of claiming back the city for good, for people, for God and for the future of this great city cannot be ignored.

Recorded as ‘Prestune’ in 1086 and later as Presteton in 1180, Preste meaning Priest and tun meaning manor/village/enclosure.  The symbol of Preston, being a lamb with two letters PP above it, is a tribute to our priestly heritage.  The PP stands for ‘Princeps Pacis’ or Prince of Peace in English.

The name Preston and Priest Town derives from faith leaders settling along the trade routes and the river crossings.  If we take a closer look at Priest Town, it can be traced back to a further meaning of “the church holds the town”. What an incredible heritage, our home City has its identity, it’s very name is stitched through a legacy of the church holding the streets. Security, promise

In the bible God spoke to a man named Joshua and said: –

“I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses”

Joshua 1 verse 3

Now I like the sound of that – every place where I set my foot.  I’ve walked the streets of our beautiful city, but I don’t know if I’ve walked down each and every square foot.  But I’m certain that someone has, we each have walked the length and breadth of our neighbourhoods.  What I’m saying is that the whole city is ours.  If the promise of God is that wherever we have walked is ours, then we occupy all streets.

There is need of a revolution.  Not a riot, but a revolution.  As the people of Preston march through the streets to celebrate the Guild 2012, we lead a new march, we lead the revolution of peace.  If the Prince of Peace resides in our city, PP on our coat of arms, then we are called to “take back the city”.  Let justice, truth and freedom be our banners.  Let integrity, honour and sacrifice be our daily routine.  A revolution that looks like this will take back the city.

What a city this will be.  After all, the writer Phillip Yancey once quoted: –

“If I could sum up the Bible in one sentence it’s God saying, “I want my family back!”

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