A campaign that had all the elements of an exciting drama in the run-up to the vote had suddenly materialised into an irrevocable decision in the cold light of day (News Analysis, p8).
Half the country was celebrating (although some Leave voters apparently regretted their decision), and half were feeling angry. The tone quickly turned hostile online. Petitions to overturn the result were circulated by ‘Remainers’ on my Facebook feed, while Leave voters accused them of sour grapes. Disagreement turned into anger and I saw several people announcing that they were ‘unfriending’ others, or that they had themselves been ‘unfriended’.
In my church (and probably yours) there were people who voted in both directions (for two different Christian views see In My Opinion, p14). But the atmosphere on Sunday morning was very different from the world of social media. We met as a group of individuals who have a variety of opinions on all kinds of matters, but who collectively meet around Jesus, the person who unites us all in our diversity.
That’s not just pie-in-the-sky theology. It really happens every time people profess their common faith in Jesus.
No one likes to feel the ground under their feet begin to shake, but God can use this shaking for good. When foundations that seemed so solid begin to crumble, people often start to realise they’ve been building their lives on sand. As the UK continues to experience the shock waves of the political fallout, I have a hope that the UK Church can become a beacon of unity and stability.
Could this be the moment for us to collectively demonstrate that a sure foundation can only be found in Christ? Can we be a community which, while others fall out and unfriend each other, stands united in diversity?
About a week after the Brexit vote, I hosted Unbelievable? The Conference, the theme for which was evangelism. The hundreds gathered heard J.John speak of his feeling that while the UK is experiencing a shaking underfoot, he also senses a break in the clouds above and God’s presence starting to be manifest.
I too dare to hope that there is a new openness to the gospel (a taste of which is perhaps being felt in Reading, see News, p10) and an opportunity to present a fractured nation with a vision of a kingdom that transcends our broken politics and social media fallouts. And, as ever, it starts with you and me.