Parish Church of St john the Baptist

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Vicar's Letter

27th May 2020

 

Dear friends,

We were recently watching a television drama where an innocent person looked as if they were going to be wrongly convicted of a crime. I don’t know about you, but when I see this, whether it’s in reality or fiction, my sense of injustice and impotence is palpable. What on earth must it feel like to be imprisoned for a crime you didn’t commit? With advances in DNA science we know there have been people who have been proven innocent after serving years of a custodial sentence.  I pray they’ve been able to re-enter society without being completely embittered. One thing is for sure, they will have their reward in heaven.

We encounter examples of injustice in our world every day and they’re not always severe, such as a miscarriage of justice, communities of people made refugees by their Governments or the disproportionate sharing of wealth in the world – sometimes it can simply feel as if it’s one rule for some and one for others, but it’s still unjust and it feels very unfair.

From reading the New Testament, it’s clear to see that Jesus hated injustice – many of the stories about his life and his teaching record him setting-out right from wrong. He despised what the Pharisees stood for because they used the Law to their own ends, whilst hypocritically ‘treading’ on the meek and lowly. You may recall Jesus calling them “white tombs” because they made themselves look pure on the outside, but they were dark as death inside (Matthew 23:27). There’s also the account of the woman accused of adultery (John 8:1-11); strictly speaking she had broken their Laws, but Jesus could see that the Scribes and Pharisees were using her as a tool to trick him. There was also a hugely unjust factor in their Law which meant that only women could be accused of adultery, and men often used it as a way to lay grounds for a divorce, leaving a woman alone and unable to support herself. So, Jesus highlights the injustice of the situation by inviting any one of them to stone her if they were sin-free. Of course, they all sloped-off and left the woman with Jesus; he up-holds the Law and tells her not to sin again, but equally doesn’t condemn her of her sin. That’s pretty revolutionary in itself, but the really radical thing Jesus did was to defend a woman. That was unheard of in his day, and it’s just one of the many ways he turned the world upside down. Jesus hated injustice - he still does!

There may have been an array of things which have felt unfair or unjust in the last couple of months. Whether it was something fairly minor in the grander scheme of things, like not being able to get a haircut, or rather more distressing, such as not being able to see family and friends, it doesn’t matter – share it with God. Nothing is too trivial for him, so tell him. Get cross with him if you need to – believe me, the awesome creator of this universe can take it. Taking our woes to God isn’t new; the Book of Psalms are full heartache, and they can be a great source of comfort if we’re feeling frustrated and helpless. And the reason I suggest sharing the unfairness of life with God is, because in doing so, it will help us to cope. As Jesus says, Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest(Matthew 11:28).

Whether we have suffered injustices in the past, are suffering them now, or will encounter them in the future, let’s move forward, safe in the knowledge we can share them with Jesus. And God forbid there’s a situation which cannot be righted in this life, rest assured, it will be in the next.

 

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Every blessing, Heidi.

 

 

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