Skip to main content

Building a new nation

I’m writing this morning after the night before. About two hours ago the chief returning officer, Mary Pitcaithly, confirmed that Scotland will not be leaving the UK. Like so many others I stayed up all night to watch the conclusion to this unprecedented exercise in democracy where 85 per cent of eligible voters took the biggest constitutional decision in UK democratic history. 
 
And so we stay. 
 
After all the debate, all the campaigning, all the passion and all the argument, the people of Scotland have made their choice and the UK will not be the same.
 
It’s hard to describe what these last few weeks have felt like. Politics has been everywhere – the talk of the playground, the building site, the swimming pool and the church. At a time of cynicism in the Western world there has been a reinvigoration of civic engagement and debate as politics once again has actually mattered.
 
The world has been watching and they have seen a nation debate its future without blood, tanks or sword. And they have seen a nation decide to reaffirm its bonds with its neighbours while challenging our leaders to deliver a better governance, not just to Scotland but to everyone in the UK.
 
There is a sense of unfinished business. Not quite so much for Scotland, for in one sense we have finished this season (though there is more devolution coming). Rather the debate now moves to England, Wales and Northern Ireland to decide how they see their own settlement in relation to their neighbours. How do we reflect on what has just passed in Scotland and what may be to come for the rest of the UK?
 
First, we learn to love our neighbour. In Luke 10 the parable of the Good Samaritan contains the telling question Who is my neighbour?’ and in many ways that has been the key question of our debate. As believers we’ve had to consider that question as we vote – am I just voting for what is best for me or am I voting for what is best for my society? And we now have to consider it as we reconcile to those who have passionately disagreed on this question. As a nation we’ve had to consider the very practical question of neighbourly relations – who are my people? What is my nation? Now that we have reaffirmed that the UK will remain as a family of nations how are we to build God-honouring relationships between our own nation and the others that make up this United Kingdom?
 
Second, we must learn to build a just society. Much of the desire (not all) for independence was driven by a sense that the current Westminster political system is fundamentally unjust, particularly to the most vulnerable in society. The Yes wins in Glasgow and Dundee were driven by a heart cry for social justice and for a society of greater equity.  Right throughout scripture we see God’s interest in a just society. From Adam’s initial mandate to the vision of Israel, to the Kings, the Prophets and the ultimate kingdom of God, scripture points us to the values of a godly society. If we do nothing else on the back of this referendum let it be that we build such a society with God’s kingdom values at the heart.
 
Finally, this debate has been about identity. Who am I and what is this nation I call home?  The reason this debate has been felt so closely by so many across the whole UK is that it is about the core of who we are, how we see the world and our place within it. Flags and symbolism are powerful tools and the thought of gaining or losing can have a powerful effect.  Yet as Christians we know our identity is not primarily found in nation or symbol but as adopted children of God. Our citizenship is not in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland but rather it is in heaven and we eagerly await a saviour from there (Philippians 3:20). Constitutional change is coming but as we consider politics and nationhood we must remember who we are.
 
Scotland has taught us much about democracy and justice through this campaign and we hope these positive effects will start to be felt across the UK. With the decision now made it is time to build a future family of nations with God’s values at the heart.      
 
#What Kind of Nation?
 
Kieran Turner is public policy officer at Evangelical Alliance Scotland 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When God turns a deaf ear on prayers

Does God always hear people’s prayers, or do some pray in vain thinking that God hears them, when in reality He chooses to turn a deaf hear to their cries? Some may perhaps have a notion that all prayers are worthy, and God being who He is is by nature willing to listen and hear their prayers delightfully. They entertain the notion that it is their birth right for God to listen to their prayers and answer them accordingly. Also, there are some who come before the presence of the Lord with severe doubts, defeated by the devils whisper that they are such an unworthy soul that for them to lift up their cries to the Lord is an abomination. They are mute by their own wickedness, depressed and thus fail to pray.

What does the scripture say about God turning a deaf hear to prayers? It is to be said that God is sovereign and can choose to answer any prayer as He sees fit. He is altogether happy and never backed into a corner, God always does whatever He pleases for He is free to do as He wills…

What does it mean to live a godly life?

If you ever asked yourself the question, what does it mean to live a godly life? and if your not exactly sure what living a godly life involves, this extract taking from Charles Seet book 'A Christian in a non-Christian world' provides ample guidance on just what to do.

Now it is worth asking the question then, 'What does it mean to live godly?' It does not mean that we are just to confine ourselves within a set of rules and regulations. Some people reduce godly living to a list of 'do’s and don'ts.' But the meaning of godly living goes far deeper than that.

Godly living means living in the manner that God wants us to live. It means having the same feelings, attitudes and heart's desires that God has. It means that we love the things that God loves, care for the things that God cares for, and dislike those things which He dislikes. And since God loves righteousness, a godly person also loves righteousness. Since God hates sin, a godly person also hates …

Women of the Bible: Adah and Zillah

The Sin of Adam and Eve resulted in the fall of humanity. Every generation after them became wicked and that is why scripture affirms, ‘that there is no one righteous, no, not even one.’ Mankind became enslave to the passions of its flesh, its desires became its ruler and men followed the natural dictates of their hearts; and were it not for Sovereign grace, the race of men would now only be read of by angels in the library of extinct creatures. Adam and Eve witnessed the consequences of their sin in the death of their beloved son, Abel, by the hands of Cain who murdered his brother in anger and was thus sent away from the presence of God. My dear sisters, sin is not only sin when it is found in its extremes, sin is also sin in its subtlety and vanity. Sin is sin when one's affection is set on another and not on God, when one lives to please a thing or a being which is not God; this is also sin.
This becomes especially evident in the lives of Adah and Zillah the wives of Lamech. Th…