Like most people, I was somewhat surprised to find that the referendum vote actually went in favour of leaving the European Union. The vote has brought us into chaotic and unpredictable times.
Let me make three points.
1) We have now started on a long and difficult path that will continue for years. As Christians, we have a commitment to those who are needy and oppressed, and we need to be very careful that no EU legislation is thrown away without ensuring that it is replaced with something that is just as good, if not better. Too much of the ‘Leave or Remain’ debate has focused on whether we, as individuals, would be richer or poorer. In the days ahead, we must make sure that this is not the only guideline.
2) We need to be very careful that the ‘Brexit mindset’ doesn’t lead to some sort of narrow, inward-looking ‘Little England’ mentality, where what happens beyond our shores becomes totally irrelevant. Walls can be built in the mind as much as in reality. This is not just simply a matter of economic sense but a moral duty. As a nation, we have contributed much to the world, not least in the spread of the Christian faith. In difficult and dangerous times, our nation still has a global role to play. We need to look outward to the world.
3) Above all, as Christians we need to pray. We have been taught that politicians control events. Nothing has demonstrated the foolishness of this idea more than this referendum. Like it or not, we have found ourselves flowing down a fast-moving stream whose course is uncharted. Whether perilous rapids or calm waters lie ahead is completely unknown to any of us. The duty of praying for our rulers and our nation is something that every Christian should take seriously – and never more so than now.
‘I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for all who are in authority, so we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth’ (1 Timothy 2: 1-4).
Rev Canon J.John