On the John T. Myers Pedestrian Bridge
between Lafayette & West Lafayette, Indiana
[See also "Interstellar Thanksgiving"]
I had an interesting listening experience a couple of Sundays ago. During the Old Testament lesson, I kept hearing the word inequity, though the word on the page was clearly iniquity:
. . . we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. . . . thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. . . . we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
Perhaps my brain was tweaking the message just a bit to make it more relevant for citizens of the 21st century. Whether we should or not, do we much bemoan our iniquities? No, not really. Inequity, on the other hand, fills the news and plagues us daily. We struggle with how to redress the racial inequity of American history, how to correct the economic inequity that leaves so many basic needs unfulfilled, and how to establish social equity among all persons and environmental equity upon the earth.
As the reading came to a close and the next hymn was announced, I was still pondering the contemporary relevance of my inadvertent rewording. Imagine my surprise, not to mention the ultimate satisfaction of connection and coincidence, when we reached the last word of the first stanza:
Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!There you have it -- equity! Thus confirming my intuition that somehow inequity was a more appropriate watchword for the day than iniquity. This hymn's emphasis on equality reminded me of two more references:
Hail in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free;
To take away transgression and rule in equity.
1. The message of social justice embedded in the beautiful Christmas carol "Oh Holy Night":
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining2. This brief but powerful reminder that if ever there is to be peace on earth, we must address inequity and close the gap between poverty and prosperity:
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth . . .
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease . . .
Who is weak, and I am not weak?
who is offended, and I burn not?
2 Corinthians 11:29 (King James Version)