10 August 2023

Barristers ban grace

Written by Graham Nicholls

Lincolns Inn, an elite society of barristers in London has decided to replace the saying of a Christian grace before their formal meals with a more inclusive “giving thanks”. They are quoted as saying that they want to change because of their “diverse range of members with a different range of beliefs… and build an increasingly inclusive environment” correcting “outdated stereotypes.”

Instead of saying: “Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy gifts which we receive from Thy bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

They will say: “In this moment of silence, let us give thanks for all that we are about to receive and for the company of this Honourable Society.”

Take away God and we become idol worshippers, there is no real God to give thanks to so we end up giving thanks and worshipping gods made in our image or praising ourselves and our solidarity, which this new wording does exceptionally well!

I appreciate the value of pausing to give thanks to God for food at each meal, wherever we are. God deserves it, and it helps us remember the giver of every good and perfect gift.

This new policy is a sad reflection that Christianity is being pushed to the margins. It is especially jarring because the basis of our legal system is the Judeo-Christian framework. Most lawyers wear two neck bands, symbolising the ten commandments but the connection runs deeper than that with the whole moral framework and the system of justice being rooted in the Christian faith. 

But we have to be realistic that most barristers are not Christians and rather than bemoan the state of our nation and look back to better times, we must see the urgent need for prayer and witness. Our job as Christians is to point out that our legal system and also our outrage and social injustice, inequality or environmental damage is because we have a conscience and moral sense, informed by our Christian heritage. People would benefit so much more from getting to the root, rather than the fruit, to the God behind the law and his Son who keeps the law. His perfection given to us and his invitation to become a disciple is something to give thanks for, to the true God.

Written by
Graham Nicholls
Graham is the Director of Affinity and provides strategic leadership of the ministry teams oversees the day-to-day operations and regularly writes and speaks in the media. Graham is also one of the pastors of Christ Church Haywards Heath. He is married to Caroline and has three grown-up children, plenty of grandchildren and a wild dog.

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