Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Finding our identity…

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the whole debate on membership of the European Union resulting in the Referendum decision to “Leave” is that it’s been conducted in terms of what we can get out of it – the benefits for me. When people have said, “Why don’t they just give us the facts so that we can decide properly?” it’s been to do with how much money we might save ourselves in membership costs – or how much money will we be able to spend on ourselves instead of other countries – or how low we can bring the figures down for net migration. Quite a few figures did in fact get thrown around. But “experts” were disparaged as if the very fact of their professional knowledge was a cause for suspicion. And other figures – including those on the side of campaign buses – are now admitted to have been untrue.

There’s been quite a bit of talk about taking back power for ourselves – much of it accompanying assertions that left to ourselves we can be a truly “Great” Britain. Well… we shall see. I didn’t think that being a European stopped me being British – and now there’s a real possibility that we’ll end up without a United Kingdom to be British in. And it’s that last thing that really bothers me. A small majority of people want me to stop being who I was.

That’s democracy! And I’m not going to disparage it. But perhaps we all need to think, “Who am I really?” “What constitutes my identity?” With Archbishop Justin Welby I affirm that my identity is known finally in that I am a child of God, redeemed by Christ. Whatever my passport may say about citizenship, the Kingdom to which I am called finally is the Kingdom of God. This is the one thing which ultimately is worth knowing. Its manifesto is the Beatitudes – “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5). Perhaps we all need to take a refresher course in it.             Martin Jackson

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