AS vicar of Christ Church and Carleton I have the privilege of helping to lead collective worship in our two church schools Christ Church in Skipton and Carleton Endowed in Carleton.

Recently I was sharing with Christ Church School thoughts on Isaiah the prophet and how his words have been used by a group called the Order of the Mustard Seed.

The verse we were looking at read ‘learn to do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow’

Seeking justice often takes on a militaristic turn as we look at how we can punish wrong doing.

The discussion we had however, turned us towards how justice also means looking at how we can treat people fairly and equally.

Supporting fair trade rather than free trade is a significant justice issue, as is Climate Justice.

The G7 foreign ministers meet this week, how can we influence the big decision makers to exercise justice for all?

An integral part of this is also a knowledge of God’s mercy and how mercy and justice are indeed closely linked.

Kindness and forgiveness are strong and powerful ways of treating people. Just as justice can evoke powerful images so too can forgiveness. We struggle most often with forgiveness especially when we have been powerfully hurt.

In these trying days when we struggle, not knowing whether our lives will ever be ‘normal’ again let us treasure the gifts of life that we have been given. Let us look at how we can work together to bring healing to a frustrated world and to each other. Justice, forgiveness and respect come high on a list of values that allow us to follow the path Isaiah’s words direct us towards.

Revd Ruth Harris

Vicar Christ Church Skipton with St Marys Carleton in Craven

Area Dean Skipton