Well we now know the result of the referendum. For some the result will be received as good news, for others as a catastrophe. One persons ‘glorious opportunity’ is another’s potential ‘armageddon.’
I am sad, I was a remain voter and a fairly convinced one. So how should I react or respond, as a Christian? I have been pondering this thought for several weeks now, in anticipation of a possible leave vote.
First and foremost I think I need to face up to some of my own inconsistencies. I voted remain despite holding an innate suspicion of large institutions and their tendency to assume supererogatory powers. I am in many ways a passionate advocate for the principle of subsidiarity (especially in the life of the church!)
Are any of us entirely consistent? Probably not.
But, I also need to be clear and honest about my concerns. I simply don’t buy the ‘back in control’ argument. I think it is a myth and a fallacy. The world and its systems are simply too complex. And, I do worry, a lot about what I perceive as a tendency by political leaders to encourage folk to regard themselves as ‘victims’ of the European Union. Victims require scapegoats. I am also deeply concerned about the plight of the poor and vulnerable. For me too much of the debate (and I would level this accusation at campaigners on both sides) was self-centered. The notions of good neighbourliness and the common good hardly got a look in.
Secondly, I think it is really important to keep my eye on the ‘main thing;’ the thing that never changes whatever social and political reality we find ourselves inhabiting and, whatever the consequences of that system.
The emerging social and political reality, whether it has good or bad consequences (and clearly I think it likely that for the most part the consequences will be bad) will be the emerging reality. This is a statement of the obvious!
So what becomes important is how we as the Body of Christ carry ourselves in the midst of the ’emerging reality.’ If we don’t keep our eyes on the ‘main thing’ could it be that we are doomed to a never-ending cycle of blame, bitterness and, recrimination; cancer to the common good?
So what is the ‘main thing?’
Could it be that it is simply this: to be a blessing to the world? To be agents of reconciliation and peace. To make sure that we constantly talk, in the public square, about the common good and, to allow ourselves to be inspired and energized by Jesus’ own manifesto commitments (Luke 4, 18 &19):
‘To bring good news to the poor…..to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
As Christians we are free to vote how we chose, but we also have a responsibility to love our neighbour, to exercise true charity and radical hospitality to the poor and oppressed, to work ceaselessly for the common good, and to a blessing to the world.
This is the ‘main thing’ and its a changeless thing; plus ca change.