‘I urge, then first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness’ – 1 Tim 2:1-2
We stand at this point on the road to Brexit. Last year June, United Kingdom voted in favour of leaving the European Union (EU). It is on record that Scotland and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, while England and Wales, with a much larger combined population, voted to leave. Today our Prime Minister, Theresa May triggered ‘Article 50,’ a two years formal process and negotiation of leaving the political-economic coalition of 28 members. The Treaty of Lisbon forms a constitutional basis for EU member states with a small section called Article 50 which has never been invoked before. Article 50 contains details of what happens when a member leaves the group. Chris Bickerton, a lecturer at Cambridge University explained that Article 50 was drafted with the idea that it would not be used. According to him, Article 50 was drafted ‘to make it pretty hard to exist in a smooth way.’
Lent beyond Brexit, in such a day and time as this provides us an assurance that ‘the world will not have the last word. We will not have the last word. But God will have the last word. These are days of new beginnings.’ The reality is that the loss of a major member is destabilising for the EU and UK in particular, but the Bible is full of stories about transforming situations like ours, that had become uncertain, hopeless, and polarising. Lent as a time of repentance, forgiveness, and preparation in such a day and time as this provides opportunity for radical change with new horizon filled with promise and new life. The European Union scattered bones are able to come back to life (Ezek 37).
Lent beyond Brexit, in such a day and time like this summons us to pray as never before for the church in Europe, our nation, work for unity and preach the gospel. Beyond the fear of scattered bones and what tomorrow will bring, Paul’s message to Timothy is very applicable to us in such a time as this. While some of us longed for this day and some of us have never dream it, God is calling us to pray and work for healing and unity within the church and in our divided continent and country. To Leave or to Remain, union with Jesus Christ is our hope of glory.
Prayer: Article 50 has never been invoked, some details of the process have never been firmly established. Let us pray for all those who will be involved in the negotiation especially the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU and others for wisdom and divine guidance.