That’s good advice whenever troubles and storms arise. I see far too much entitlement or dependency culture around. It can show up in the very privileged who sometimes seem to take the attitude that they can have things just as they want, regardless of the wants and needs of others, and also in the very disadvantaged who have no confidence in themselves or hope for the future and wait to be taken care of by others. Whatever happened to just “dealing with it”? Life never has been and never will be perfect. And a lot of the time it isn’t even particularly fair. To be honest, I’ve probably been lucky as often as I’ve been hard done by. That’s to be expected. I fully realise that life’s hands are not evenly dealt and that we should do all in our power to redress the imbalances created by historical and present-day oppression and prejudice. And working for justice and fairness on a societal level is central to the life of faith. What troubles me is the tendency to cry, “Justice!” when you think someone else should be punished and, “Mercy!” when you’re the one who has done wrong.
It is said that good religion should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. I think the point is to be deeply honest with ourselves about what is best and what is worst in ourselves and to own the first in all humility and to work on the second with real intent and with the help of others and of God’s grace. As we begin Lent, I can think of no better way to observe it.
By the Revd Canon Robbin Clark, Dean of Women Clergy