Dr Rowan Williams speaks in Norwich about justice
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams spoke at Norwich Cathedral on May 8 on ‘faith, hope and justice in a broken world.’ He said that generosity created by love is the most realistic thing we can live by.
By Helen Baldry
Dr Williams has been chairman of the board of Christian Aid since 2013. He unpicked what faith, hope and justice mean, particularly in relation to Christian Aid. His talk focused on ‘reality’. He said, “Christ believed the reality that matters is God’s, where love and justice co-exist”.
The language used around aid can be a challenge. Dr Rowan Williams spoke about ‘justice’, which can seem like an arms-length concept, alongside ‘charity’. He concluded that we need both elements. When justice is active, dynamic and personal – and charity is more than feeling benevolent to people far away, we can have a clear vision to go forward with the right motives.
Faith, hope and justice is a helpful formula. Dr Williams drew upon the Old and New Testaments to see what it means to hold together love and justice. He said that justice is closely connected with wisdom (Deuteronomy 6). When we live in justice, it means we are living in tune with the way things are. Justice is proper alignment. We can “live in the stream of God’s own action.”
Dr Williams said that we can have faith in God’s wisdom. He said there is a “true and real indestructible relationship between God and God’s world that can always be reclaimed and restored.” Therefore we can take risks because things hang together. “Faith in a broken world is an affirmation of what can’t be destroyed.”
This shows that faith is inseparable from hope. The connecting work of God continues, whatever we do to frustrate or ignore it.
Regional Co-ordinator for Christian Aid Julian Bryant spoke earlier in the evening about Christian Aid week, which is from 14 – 20 May. He urged people to get involved by praying, giving, collecting and putting on fundraising events.
Dr Williams said that these activities are sacramental and carry the energy of God’s connecting purpose. This sort of action states what we believe to be most real.
Dr Williams said we must speak and act as if what is real is mutual. He spoke of a pressure towards isolation and the attitude that it’s too complicated to take responsibility for our neighbours. He posed the challenge “What if refusal is unrealistic?”
During a break for refreshments, people submitted questions for Dr Williams, including What if reality doesn’t include God? What about when aid gets into the wrong hands? How do you overcome fear? What is compassion?
To get involved in Christian Aid week, visit https://www.christianaid.org.uk/christian-aid-week
Or contact Julian Bryant on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01603 620051
Do you appreciate our service and stories?
The Network Norwich & Norfolk website has been published for over 13 years now and we have an established team of professional journalists covering the activities, organisations and churches which make up the county’s Christian community. Our whole purpose is to support that community by daily providing accurate, unbiased stories and features.
To pay for that service, we rely on our partner organisations, advertisers and readers to, in turn, support us financially. We want to keep the website free for everyone to access and continue to be able to pay for writers to produce the content you can enjoy every day.
We would like to ask you to consider supporting our work and suggest you might want to make a small regular donation of just £1 a week and become one of our 100 Friends, or a larger one-off or annual amount.
Because we are part of a registered charity we can reclaim Gift Aid on your donations if you are a tax-payer.
Click here to fill out a standing order form and to add an extra 25% for free via Gift Aid
Click below to donate instantly via a credit or debit card or Paypal