In, Out, In, Out

... shake it all about.

The referendum debate reminds me of the Hokey Cokey. Overwhelmingly people I speak to are undecided whether we should be in or out of the EU. The overall attitude to the subject seems to either be one of confusion or of boredom.

As we approach Thursday 23rd June one thing is certain and that is that everyone will be glad when it is over, for now at least. If the opinion polls are right it will be a close run decision which means that a sizeable minority of voters will be disappointed with the outcome. Regardless of the outcome there will be yet further analysis of the implications of the decision and how it will be worked out over the coming months and years.

The public debate seems to have revolved about matters such as immigration and also about how much better off we will be financially. Each side it seems tries to outdo the other in instilling fear over the consequences of making the wrong decision. The difficulty it seems is knowing who to believe.

What if there could be another way to approach the issue? One that did not place self-interest at the heart of the debate? One that instead put the priorities of preaching the Good News about Jesus at the centre?

I understand that this approach may not get an airing on TV’s Question Time, but it seems to me that it is the approach that fits best with a biblical understanding of how we as Christians should approach any manifestation of human government. In 1 Timothy 2 Paul urged ‘that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority’. What Paul is inviting us to is concerted and effortful praying.

He is also specific in what we should request. The biblical agenda in verse two is radically different from the matters of financial stability or national sovereignty that have driven the campaign. He says we should pray ‘that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.’ He then goes on to say that ‘this is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’

This insight may not change the way that you vote on 23rd June but hopefully it will inspire you to pray that the outcome will be good for the preaching of the gospel across the whole of Europe. It is always good to pray in this way for our political leaders, but especially at a time of referendum which is expected to set the course for our nation for the next 40 years.