A question that is being asked by many people in the United Kingdom, and indeed across the world, at this time. The events of this week have made an already confused Brexit process appear even more in disarray. One journalist used the word “omnishambles” and that’s probably as good a description as we could get.
No-one seems happy with where we are now, neither those who wanted to leave the EU or those who wanted to remain. No-one seems to be in control, no-one really seems to know what is going on. With two weeks to go until the date set for Brexit we still don’t know if, when, or how we will leave.
But there are some certainties about what is coming, and there are some responses which I believe Christian people must make at this time, irrespective of political persuasion. Many of these are also valid responses for people without faith. I offer a list below, and I may amend it or add to it over the coming days.
- We must continue to pray for our politicians. On Sunday I will be preaching on Romans 12, where Paul urges us to bless people rather than curse them, even when they are hurting us. That doesn’t mean we can’t hate their decisions, and fight against them, but we must try (and it’s not easy!) not to hate them as people. We must pray for wisdom, for a desire to do what is right for people rather than their own political games, but above all for honesty and integrity – two virtues which are sadly too often lacking in our culture.
- Whatever happens, the poor and marginalised will lose out, because they always do. The church must continue to be challenged by Scripture, which calls us time and again to care for those who are disadvantaged, on the margins, unable to speak for themselves. You could argue that if we as a society had done that better we wouldn’t be in the current mess, but we must take particular care of those who are vulnerable, as at times of political uncertainty they are the ones most likely to be trodden on.
- We must take a stand and say that racism and xenophobia are not acceptable, in any form. Sadly over the past two years they have become an every day experience for many people in this country. All people are made in God’s image, irrespective of the colour of their skin, where they were born, or what language they speak. The love of God is not contained by our arbitrary geographical boundaries, and we must fulfil our Biblical mandate to welcome and love all people in Jesus name.
- Pray for the island of Ireland. I am just old enough to remember the troubles in Northern Ireland, but I didn’t really understand what was going on. But those who were there know it is not something they ever want to go back to. Pray for continued peace. But it’s not just about that; even if there is peace, any closing of the border will cause serious economic issues on both sides, so we must pray that a solution can be found.
- Above all, remember this is not just about us. The events of the next few weeks will affect UK citizens in the UK, UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU, EU citizens living in the UK, the jobs and livelihoods of thousands, and who knows what else. In this, as in everything, we must resist any tendency to protection of our own interests, but instead seek what is right for the whole of God’s creation.
There’s a few things to be going on with! As I say, I may add to this as we watch the continuing unfolding of events over the coming days. If you have suggestions of other ways we as Christian people should respond then please let me know.