From Our Minister's Work Station
From Our Minister's Workstation
Recent copies of the minsters letters from our Minister Brian. ...more

01/06/2016 From The Minister's Fence

An old Sunday School Teacher used to pose the question ‘what would Jesus do’ to her errant charges. Back in simpler days there was a ready answer in the Gospels. Today it is perhaps less clear on some issues though anyone who attends Breaking News will know that even the most up to date news story can find help in scripture. Even the thorn ridden question of Europe has help from above – more on that later.

Last year we witnessed the vote on devolution in Scotland. Both sides preached their point of view and some worried that something precious was about to vanish without trace. There was the promise of a bright future and also horror stories of what might come to pass. We now know the outcome of that vote. We have also witnessed the rapid decline in the oil price worldwide which would have left Scotland very exposed if they had departed. We can also reflect on the demands the Scots made about nuclear weapons, keeping the BBC programmes and a desire to hold onto the Pound. The last demand was not on acceptable to Westminster. Already some are baying for another vote.

This month marks the time of decision for our referendum on Europe. What follows will be as trying as the campaign itself. This will be true regardless of the outcome. If we remain every EU edict will come with cries of ‘shame’ and ‘I told you so’. The same will occur if things go wrong if we leave . The campaign has been divisive, ill informed and bad tempered. It has shown the poverty of thinking in our political classes and their risible skills of debate. It is a very important decision yet some are accused of using it for their own ends.

Do you know which way you will vote yet, has your decision changed in the past few months. Why was that? Were you informed or frightened by ‘new ‘evidence’. Does the status quo seem easier or do the new vibrant thoughts of independence grab you.

When I look at Brexit the most compelling argument seems to be cost and sovereignty. It is an eye watering amount of money that disappears from our national bank account each month. And being able to make our own legislation instead of being told to do something, well.....

The ‘Stronger In’ crowd have found strong friends including Mr Obama, Christine Lagarde of the IMF and a number of business including Aviva and Microsoft to speak up for remaining in Europe. The Military and Intelligence have also spoken of needing to be inside Europe. Medical research experts have pointed to the generous funding for vital projects that could change the world and so on......
I personally look at the history of the European Project and the reason for starting it after two World Wars; both of which started in Europe. The fact that we have enjoyed peace all these years (with a few localised exceptions) is remarkable. Yes, it is a leviathan; it’s crazy that the headquarters move lock stock and MEP twice a year. But Churchill said ‘jaw, jaw is better than war, war’ .

When we consider some of the legislation made by our Parliaments on legal highs (disgraceful), gambling and planning recently the thought of more freedom for our benches chills the soul. We don’t know if Brexit carries the day what dire warning will prove prophetic from the experts. We don’t know if staying in will embolden the EU to demand more money and power.

So what would Jesus do about all this. Well he did say ‘render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s’. He stayed out of politics. He also talked about not being yoked with unbelievers. The secular EU could be rejected on that thought if the UK was the Christian country it once portrayed itself to be, that boat sailed long ago. In Matthew we find some clearer guidance for Church, Family and State. Matthew12:25 says ‘ Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Jesus was locking horns with the Pharisees over the healing of someone possessed and their criticism of his actions. But whether on earth or in hell Jesus spoke against those who divided families, communities or kingdoms. Unity and working together is valued by the Son of God. He questioned the motives of those making divisive comments. On the Sermon on the Mount he commended the Peacemakers. This episode in our history has lacked peace and maturity. Some reflection on this point may help all of us to make our choice.

Whatever you decide please make sure you vote in this Referendum and pray for determination to abide by the result for both camps.

Brian