Hardly a day goes by without another twist in the Brexit story – in the midst of so much uncertainty, how do we respond as churches and individuals? In this blog, Nigel Paterson, who represents the Catalyst Network with CARE in Westminster, offers a few thoughts:
As I write this, I have just come back from the Newfrontiers leaders ‘Praying for the Nation – a day of prayer for the UK’ at Westminster Chapel, London. My thoughts here are inspired partly from the day and from watching the Brexit story closely since it started. For me, this has included giving about 10 presentations on Brexit, in a professional capacity and usually to foreigners, during the past 12 months. With an issue this complex and divisive, how can we respond with grace, as churches and individuals?
Our key role at this moment is to pray. We are ‘a house of prayer’ (Luke 19:46), and this is a vital time to be in some serious and extended prayer on this topic. Maybe your church can pray for this matter when it comes together on a Sunday, led by yourself or someone else who knows what they are praying about. More importantly, perhaps you could commit a whole hour of your own time, with others or alone, to pray through every key stage of what is going on in the nation about Brexit. Jesus’s words in Matthew 26:40, “Could you not watch with me one hour?” should ring in our ears every time our nation is in need or crisis. At times like this, where the need is so great, we need to be committing significant time to prayer.
Another way we can respond with grace is to to write to our MP to encourage him or her. I don’t think we are very likely to change their minds profoundly about Brexit at this moment. However, this must be one of the most stressful and demanding political moments they have ever gone through. How about putting ‘Encouragement’ in the subject line and then writing simply to assure them that you are thinking of them and praying for them? If you do want to air any constructive thoughts on the subject (no ranting about Brexit or politicians more generally, please), you might like to begin these thoughts with words like, ‘I thought you must be wondering what your individual constituents are thinking just now, so here are a few thoughts of my own. You do not need to reply.’ Then keep it – and especially your paragraphs – short.
I have liked writing to my MP using the They Work For You
site where you put in your postcode, find your MP’s name and look for the ‘Send a message’ tool. I have since discovered that our MP actually prefers just to have her parliamentary email address used, but it enabled me to start a conversation. Either method could work for you.
I have left it until now to say that you may be struggling with a huge sense of frustration on this topic. You are not alone! What I have written here is designed to help you channel all that energy of yours into something highly constructive at this moment, and as a model for other times when our nation NEEDS US to stand in the gap – primarily in prayer.