Leave or Remain? Whichever side you were on in the debate, there seems to be agreement that the campaigns on both sides were dispiriting. Neither ‘project hate’ nor ‘project fear,’ as they are pejoratively labelled, offered a positive vision for our nation. Instead, scaremongering and misleading promises characterised the exchanges.
Both sides did have this in common: they seemed surprised by the outcome. Neither could offer a coherent plan for the future beyond ‘Brexit.’ The result has been a period of uncertainty. In these anxious times, we need to turn to God to intercede for our political leaders as the way forward is discerned and shaped. Our ‘prayer for the nation’ event on 7th July was one such opportunity.
Immigration was a divisive issue. It provoked heated arguments, and stirred up some dark emotions. Depressingly, hate crimes have increased significantly since the referendum. We need to stand with those who are the victims of this racially motivated violence and abuse.
Our nation needs the church to articulate her vision of a good, strong society committed to the common good. A resolve to work collaboratively on global warming, the growing disparity between rich and poor, and seeking peace and justice where there is war and hunger, must be at the centre of how we engage with the wider world. At home, this quote from the US president, Hubert H. Humphrey, is salutary, “…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the disabled.”
Putting behind us the anger and distrust of the campaign and its aftermath, and looking ahead hopefully, is the task now. A prayer for our nation:
Eternal God, Light of the nations,
in Christ you make all things new:
guide our nation in the coming days through the inspiration of your Spirit,
that understanding may put an end to discord and all bitterness.
Give us grace to rebuild the bonds of trust
that together we may work for the dignity and flourishing of all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.