Newsletter - June 2016

The EU Referendum and the Christian Response


As Christians we are called to work, live and pray for a better society. This includes participating in the political processes that shape the lives of our communities, our country and our world. It is our identity as followers of Jesus that will both engage us in the referendum and shape our response. How, then, do we allow our faith to inform our answer to one of the biggest political decisions facing the United Kingdom?

The gospel accounts remind us that Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind”, while the second is to “love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40).

But what does this have to do with the European Union, the Schengen Agreement and the single market? The answer is that each of these refers to and directly impacts upon how we relate to each other as individuals, as members of organisations and communities, and as countries. Whether it concerns questions of sovereignty, the free movement of people, or where laws are made and enforced, these are issues that influence and affect our relationships, and as such, our faith has much to share.

The UK has a longstanding relationship with the other nations of Europe. Our churches have well established links with Christian communities and congregations across the continent; these relationships extend to nations that are currently part of the European Union and those that are not. It is not an issue of whether we need and value these relationships, or even whether we belong in Europe, but whether that sense of belonging is best expressed by being part of the European Union.

For a Christian the referendum question might therefore be phrased as: “To what extent does the European Union enhance or hinder our ability to love our neighbour and, in doing so, our ability to love God?”

Prayer

Loving God,

In the referendum that lies before us,
in the challenge of seeking an answer,
in our differences of opinion,
in our need to understand,

may you guide us in our decisions,
make us gracious in our disagreement,
and may we join you to work for the
building of your kingdom
rather than our own.

Amen

(From the introduction to ‘Think, Pray, Vote: EU Referendum resources for churches’ produced by the Churches Joint Public Issues Team, altered.)

There will be an opportunity to engage in discussion as on the EU Referendum after the 10am service on the 5th June.

 

David
June 2016