When the BREXIT referendum result came out one of our family was full of Capt Mainwaring style ‘we’re all doomed’ comments: the older generation had thrown away their generation’s future! Etc., etc. A short fatherly reminder that I had lived through the likes of the Suez Crisis, Black Monday, the three day week etc and my parents through the bombing of Merseyside, the Battle of the Atlantic and the Korean war and that both Grandfathers had served in WW1 restored some balance to the situation.
Recently the election of Donald Trump has troubled many. This time there are sound reasons for being concerned that the US electorate voted for a candidate who disrespects just about every sub-group in society. Even if it was only ‘election campaigning’ it was distasteful. If he holds these views with conviction then it is a very serious matter.
In 2014/15 I organised a series of evenings at my home church in central Scotland under a grant from Scientists in Congregations – Scotland. At some of those evenings people expressed views on science that showed that they saw God as threatened by scientific discoveries. They seemed to understand scientific discoveries as being as new to God as they are to us.
They forgot that God created all the rules/laws/relationships that we study in science. There is nothing we have yet to discover that is not already known to God. I sense that in the latter half of the 20th century the church in the western world let slip the concepts of God as all knowing, all seeing and all powerful; basic concepts that I was taught at school and Sunday School.
There is a common issue here. It is too easy to ‘do a Peter’ (Matthew 14:28-30) and to take our eyes off God. To see only partially the character of God, even to see God as a human writ large. As children we still sang that ‘God is still on his throne’. The song continued ‘Though trials may press us and burdens distress us, He never will leave us alone’.
The threat that the USA will back away from the Paris Climate accord is worrying, but all powers, princes and authorities on earth rule by God’s permissive will. God is still on his throne. Let’s accentuate the positive in the face of secular gloom. Many Governments have signed up to the Paris agreement already. Hope is rising that there will be global action. The US President may be the ‘most powerful man on earth’ and ‘the leader of the Western world’, but the world is seeing sense and is taking decisions and actions to abate the threats to climate and resources. The USA may yet see the power of 199 nations as they try to undo the threats to the planet.
As Christians we have a message of hope for the world, let’s make sure it underpins our conversations on BREXIT and Donald Trump. We were not able to affect the USA election, we may or may not have voted for (or against) BREXIT but we can in the coming months talk of the Hope that is within us and influence friends and colleagues in the midst of a cross-society gloom.
It is God’s planet, humankind are his stewards for the earth. In Christ the christian’s relationship with God is restored and we can take up the supreme commission to Adam to steward God’s earth.
In God we trust
Dr Andrew Wright was a medical science lecturer in Hong Kong and Edinburgh. He is a Director of JRI and is a church deacon.