In the last two weeks some of us have begun to explore the ‘Pilgrim Course’ of the Church of England looking to support people to explore the Christian Journey. In Moot and also in Bank City Churches we are using the element exploring The Lord’s Prayer over the 6 weeks of Lent and its material in the first two weeks has been good.
In the last session we explored the theme of ‘Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be Done, on Earth as in Heaven.’
The content again has been good, but I have again been struck by the difference between vision and practice. This section focuses on Justice and I quote:
The Christian life is lived in a rhythm of worship and service. That service includes a love of justice and equity, and a commitment to work for these to be manifest throughout life globally. We cannot divorce faith from politics, or the local from the international. Justice must be applied universally, to everyone and by everyone. (p.25)
When we pray for God’s kingdom to come, we are asking for our world, our communities and our loves to be marked by the justice that God loves so much. As Christians we long for God’s kingdom to come but also do everything that we can to ensure that we live justly now. (p.27)
As an Anglican Christian, I am struggling a little with this vision and actual practice. Does the Church of England really live this way of being Christian? We have an appalling legacy of colluding with slavery, misogyny and homophobia to name but a few. We have dressed up this injustice as theology and tradition, and I am really slightly shocked that the Pilgrim Course has been so focused on Justice. Of course I totally agree with this, but is it really at the heart of being an Anglican Christian?
I still hear terrible things being said about Women and the Episcopate (and I can’t wait for their to be Women Bishops to redress the Old Boys Network) let alone the 26 years the Church has been listening to LGBT people and still is deeply divided on this issue with mild to extreme forms of homophobia. We in Moot have been accused by more fundamentalist Anglican Churches as being ‘unsound’ or heterodox or even of not being a ‘gospel believing church’ precisely because we affirm this vision of universal justice at the heart of God’s nature and God’s Kingdom.
So I suppose the challenge is ours, to hold onto the vision of God’s justice and God’s Kingdom when some of the Church really does not live this way and actively resists and represses people. So I applaud the Pilgrim Course and I long for the day when we don’t exclude various social groupings in the name of biblical truth and Church tradition…
The Pilgrim Course continues, Wednesday lunchtimes in Moot at 1-2pm, and 6.15-7.30pm St Mary Le Bow.