St Wandrille in July is almost unnaturally lush, green and leafy. It seems a completely different place to the austerity of November. I greatly value these weeks away from the internet, emails, etc. — indeed I have now spent 3 months of my life here, spread over the past few years. On my first visits I used to take a pile of books, but these days everything centres naturally on the office and the Church.
One theme that has been jumping out of the psalter for me this week is “equity.” Some people talk as though justice and equality issues facing the Church were some kind of imposition from secular culture, to be treated with suspicion as a post-enlightenment racket.
The insistence of the psalter that God is a God of equity and justice, whose people should strive to reflect these qualities gazumps this whole illusion. If, quoting Michael Ramsey, “The Church exists that Christ may reign,” our life should be characterised not by weird exceptionalism, but intentional striving for equity and justice. What equity means pragmatically differs from age to age. However the challenge remains constant. God’s justice may transcend that of the world, but it has to be at east as just. And after a week praying the collect, much more elegant in Latin than Engilsh, that Christians may reject those things that do not fit with the name we claim and choose those that do, it just doesn’t make any sense to suggest that basic issues of justice and equity are marginal or secondary, or merely secular impositions. They spring, in fact, from the core of our faith, as reflected in the psalms.