As we are hopefully aware, the month of June promises to be incredibly significant. After all the waiting, build up, preparation and debate, the European Championships finally kick off on Friday! Then, on 23rd June those over the age of 18 will have the opportunity to participate in deciding whether to leave or remain in the European Union.
I’ve been asked whether the church (CCD) has a particular stance on being ‘in or out’. It's worth saying that I don't think the pulpit is the place for pastors to impose their political views on others. As a church we value both unity and diversity. In this particular instance this is particularly challenging because there are obviously only two ways to vote which creates the potential for unhelpful polarisation and division. Along with others from our staff team, I have been wondering about how we can encourage one another to engage fully over the next few weeks and offer the following thoughts:
Firstly, as ‘salt and light’ we have the opportunity to be different and distinct, to stand out from the crowd and have our voice heard for the right reasons through engaging in dialogue and debate respectfully and with the kindness of Christ. In any interaction with another person we have the opportunity to exercise servant leadership through seeking to listen and learn rather than simply aiming to win an argument. In contrast to the cheap point scoring we observe in some political debates let's consider how to engage respectfully with others either via social media platforms or around the water cooler at work.
Secondly, let’s make the effort to be informed about the arguments on either side of the debate. Whilst the issues are far ranging and complex I'd encourage us to think theologically about the implications of voting to leave or stay rather than allowing the media to determine the agenda, an agenda which is often based on fear or scaremongering. The evangelical alliance have put together some helpful resources to help us consider how we might vote which you can read here http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/politics/eu/
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, let's engage through prayer. This is a significant moment with significant implications, if not for us then certainly for the generations who follow in our footsteps. We might feel lost, helpless and unable to influence such a major decision but let's not underestimate the power of prayer that God has placed in us. Let's cry out for mercy and justice, let's ask for God's will to be done on earth and his wisdom to be made known as we call on his name for peace and prosperity for the nations of Europe, for the revival of the church and an awakening of society to the power and presence of God, both now and for generations to come!