Like the majority of Christians, if the polls are to be believed, I voted to leave the European Union.
Today, 278 days after the historic vote on 23 June, the “Brexit bill” will receive Royal Assent, clearing the way for the triggering of Article 50, and our formal exit out of the EU.
For some this will be a day of great joy, for others a sad day.
It has been a very divisive campaign, and even following the vote, the battle to get to this point has been ferocious. As we leave the political system of the EU behind, and make new arrangements with the world, surely this is an opportunity to display some Christian unity, putting aside our differences, and to pray for God’s leading for our nation as we leave.
The opportunity now presents itself to reach out to the world. While people continue to argue we should be in the EU’s single market, they are in reality arguing for trade barriers to remain in place that hurt the world’s poorest nations. The EU’s single market is made up of just under seven per cent of the world’s population and while the single market has many benefits for those inside of it, those outside are frozen out by high tariffs and even blocked completely.
The other 93 per cent of the world’s population are now available for us to make trade deals with. All the aims in Africa, of Live Aid, the Make Poverty History campaign, Oxfam etc, that many Christians rightly support, can be better served by simply opening up our markets to them, and giving them the chance to trade their way out of poverty. These were the nations we took the Gospel to, and traded with until we turned our backs on them by entering the exclusive club of the EU’s single market. Here is an opportunity to use trade for the good of the world and not just the few.
Leaving the EU also presents us with an opportunity to re-examine the downward spiral we have taken as a nation, in terms of faith. The European Court of Justice highlighted further the EU’s hostile view of faith, with its decision today to uphold a ban on religious symbols in the workplace.
Previous Popes have been very critical of the secular humanist agenda presented by the European Union. Some of the laws that have created challenges to our Christian faith and freedom in this country, had their beginnings in the EU. The call was to take back control. Now that we have control, particularly of our laws, what are we going to do with it?
Now is the time to pray, whatever side of the debate we were on, to take up that call that Paul gave to Timothy. "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity" (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We may now have control of our laws. We may now have freedom to trade with whomever we like, but how are we going to use our new found freedom? I think all of us can agree, we desire it to be a change for the better. Firstly for our spiritual state as a nation and also that we might also be a blessing to the world.
Dave Borlase is the Director of Intercessors for Britain, an organisation that encourages and facilitates people to pray regularly for the Nation. He also serves as an Elder at Moreton Christian Assembly on the Wirral, Merseyside
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