Friday 31 January 2020

Business as Usual?

I wrote the below piece for ‘Connecting with Culture’, a weekly email service from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

Big Ben won’t bong, but time will roll on regardless and Britain will leave the European Union at 11pm on Friday 31 January 2020. It will be the end of one of the most significant political processes of our times.

How we feel about that and the new era that lies ahead will depend on a host of well-rehearsed and hotly-contested factors, which will not disappear overnight.

Noting that Christians ‘in good conscience continue to hold a wide range of views about Brexit’, leaders of church denominations have encouraged prayers for peace and reconciliation. Tweeting a prayer every day this week, Justin Welby notes the importance of ‘praying for our country as we move into a new season of challenge and opportunity’.

How, then, do we navigate this moment?

The slogan from Christians in Politics – ‘decisions are made by those who show up’ – offers a helpful prompt. It reminds us not just to ‘show up’ when it’s time to vote or debate, but to ‘show up’ in daily life too.

Many Christians are on the frontline in the world of politics itself, but politics affects us all, wherever we find ourselves – the teacher in the classroom, the cleaner in the hospital, the parent in the home.

Every sphere – education, business, economics, the media, law, health, family – can be influenced for the good by the presence of Christians. These are the everyday places where we are able to build relationships, seek justice, model reconciliation, make a gracious stand for the truth, live and speak as messengers of the gospel. And we do so not to get what we want, but as an overflow of our love for God and other people.

So, however we feel about the turn of the clock later this evening, we can move forward purposefully. Let’s pray for the Government and for our local MPs. Let’s ask trusted people to help us think through issues from a Christian perspective. Let’s inform MPs of matters that concern us – not simply the narrow range of topics where people expect us to speak out, but on other things too – education, health, unemployment, environment, immigration. Let’s get involved where we’re able to do so. And let’s recognise that the best changes will be brought about by demonstrating through our lives that there is a better way to do business as usual.

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