Reflections on our changing country and world
The article for the August edition of St David’s news was written during July where we have seen varied weather patterns which haven’t resembled summer, so I am hoping that August sees some summer-like weather in Coalville, especially for our Summer Fair on August 6th!
It hasn’t only been the weather that has been changeable during the last few weeks, our whole country, the way it is governed and led and our relationship with Europe and the world has changed.
I look back to the Christian celebrations at Pentecost to mark the arrival of the Holy Spirit and remember the week of prayer we were called to by our Archbishops, Justin Welby and John Sentamu.
From the 8th to 15th May we opened St David’s during the day and dedicated our chapel to prayer. Our prayers were for every Christian to have a new found confidence and joy in their faith, for our Community and our Nation, including its leaders and to pray for ourselves to be gifted by the Holy Spirit.
We also had a prayer station which encouraged us to engage with the Lord’s Prayer. The whole initiative was called ‘Thy Kingdom come’ and we prayed, along with all other Anglican Churches, ‘Thy Kingdom come’.
On Thursday 23rd June, some 7 weeks later, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a decision which has changed our country and its relationship with Europe and the World. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is going through a leadership battle as I write and Nicola Sturgeon, the 1st Minister of Scotland, would like Scotland to leave the UK and remain part of the European Union.
Does our prayer have anything to do with what is happening? Is it a coincidence or a ‘God-incidence’? Is God alive and does he care about his people? Do Christian people believe that by praying ‘Thy Kingdom come’, God will hear our cry and act?
All 4 candidates for the Conservative Leadership have a Christian faith background, some stronger than others. Theresa May, elected as our new Prime Minister, attends her Anglican Parish Church every Sunday, is the daughter of an Anglican Vicar and her life has been characterised as one of action rather than words. Speaking about her faith in 2014 she said “It is part of me. It is part of who I am and therefore how I approach things.” Her opening speech on becoming Prime Minister was a refreshing change as she talked about “fighting burning injustices” in our society rather than encouraging the privileged and the wealthy.
Does this echo Jesus words recorded in Luke 4:18, I wonder, “to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free”? Words that inspire many Christians to bring about a fairer society and to bring about God’s kingdom.
Does our prayer have anything to do with what is happening? Is it a coincidence or a ‘God-incidence’? Is God alive and does he care about his people? What do you think?
I don’t know God’s plans for us and our country, but I do know that he asks us to remain faithful to Christ who has the victory and to grow deeper in our understanding of who he is; to desire the gifts of his Holy Spirit and to keep praying ‘Thy Kingdom come’.
Reverend Andrew Rhoades July 2016.