Bishop's Comment: God’s New Society
4 June 2019 by Bishop David Urquhart

Bishop's Comment: God’s New Society

As a member of the House of Lords, the second chamber of Parliament that focuses on revising and scrutinising legislation, I am often asked about Brexit. Of course my answers are only as useful as the next person’s. I can emphasise politics, personalities, social disruption, justice, economics, history and so on, using facts and opinions in unequal measure, depending on my own life experiences and theories or latest thought or mood.

What I do know for certain as a Christian is that God has a longer and clearer perspective for humans personally and publicly.

In the letter to the Ephesians described by John Stott as ‘God’s New Society’ we are presented with the ideals of Jesus Christ on which to build our lives. “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true) and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8b-9

A renewed experience of Jesus’ Lordship by whose “grace you have been saved” (2:8) and of the miracle of the breaking down of “the dividing wall of hostility” (2:14), when lived by Christians, home by home, street by street, community by community will give untold hope to a demoralised and despairing country.

We can draw inspiration too from 20th and 21st century Christians as far part as South Africa, China, Rwanda or parts of Brazil, where faith has prevailed in societies that have faced collapse from unimaginable horror and oppression.

Here in the UK in recent years we have not reached anything like this widespread devastation. It is only by drawing on all the earthly and heavenly resources with which we are so richly provided that we will renew national strength and purpose. It is only by determined intention that we will model a democracy where all can participate. It is only by appreciating and enjoying others that we will sustain hard-won peace in the world.

In the months ahead we are going to take responsibility for the issues in and surrounding Brexit. We are going work through our differences with passion and patience. To do so we will need the light of the world, Jesus Christ, and his Holy Spirit gift of discernment. Pray for the raising up of politicians with statecraft and vision and the grace to love our neighbours in all their diversity. Remember the words of Reinhold Niebuhr

“O God grant us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference”.