Saturday, June 25, 2016

Bridges Across The Great Divide: A Christian Response to #Brexit

In light of recent events, I feel it would be remiss of me not to make some form of comment on Britain's decision to #Brexit - that is, to leave the European Union.

First of all, for the record I am one of the 48% who voted to remain within the European Union and I spent a lot of time researching my decision and campaigning with its merits, having weighed them against the perceived costs.  I won't bore you with all that detail here, because as things stand what's done is done and whether you voted one way or the other... we have to face the future together.  Suffice it to say I felt both shock and deep grievance over Britain's decision to come out and have my own deeply held concerns about where this road may lead us.

But I'm not writing to whine about that here and now - perhaps if people feel like responding in the comments, I may go into more detail there.  My principle aim in this blog entry is to look at where we are at now... and talk about how British Christians have a unique perspective, opportunity and sacred duty to help our fellow citizens in the coming days, years and months.

So let's look at the lay of the land at the moment - the state of the union.  Weeks of bitter campaigning have rocked families, friendships and relationships up and down the country.  I've even become embroiled in a few regretful tussles myself. The endless stream of charts show us that most of England and Wales are at odds with London, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and that divides are not just limited to the geographical but extend to rich versus poor, old versus young and left versus right.

The United Kingdom is very much shaken.... and that's where we need to come in.

During the Scottish referendum, I felt that God laid a scripture on my heart and as polling day loomed, the same passage came to me again... even clearer:

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe"
Hebrews 12:28
Paul's letter to the Philippians assures us that we are citizens of heaven and we therefore have an identity that is not founded on the temporal confines of an earthly nation. That's not to say that we are any less patriotic about our nation... but it is to say that our British identity is defined by our Christian identity - and not the other way around.

How can this help other people in the country who are not Christians? Well, whilst Britain may be shaking, we don't have to shake with it. As the psalmist wrote we should turn our eyes to the mountains and remind ourselves that our help comes from - the Lord God.  The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that life "under the sun" is full of futility... all things come and go in cycles and have their beginning and end. However if we remember our creator we have a perspective that sees us through that futility - we live life "above the sun" or perhaps we should say "under the Son and not under the sun".

If we live in the unity of our belief we can be a shining example to people who are broken and grieving in the current political situation. As Christ's ambassadors we also need to open our spiritual doors to non Christians. Our hearts and homes must be places where we offer welcome and refuge and a friendly ear to people who have not come to terms with where the country is at (even if we have not ourselves). This may very well become more and more important as time goes on, if the country goes down a road we like even less.

Beyond prayer for our nation and its people, we have a part to play in God's service. So let's pick ourselves up, refresh our spirits with the common identity and  greater truths we find in Christ... and ready ourselves for the spiritual work ahead.

Thoughts for further (respectful) discussion:
  • How do you feel about Britain's exit from the European Union
  • How can Christian's serve God in its wake?
  • Would *you* like prayer with regard to anything that has come out of the result?

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