We hope you enjoyed our journey through the Letter to the Philippians and found it useful in both increasing your understanding of this letter and in inspiring you in your daily discipleship. Our next series, which started this morning, is from Scotland and is a little different but we hope you will find it useful at this time of great uncertainty for our country.
The United Kingdom finds itself in what might, euphemistically, be called “interesting times”. For the last three years two governments have tried, so far without success, to both negotiate an agreement to leave the European Union and persuade the House of Commons to legislate to give legal effect to that deal. We have had extensions to Brexit, threats of leaving without a deal – and much speculation about what leaving that way would mean – promises of General Elections, cases heard in the highest courts of our land, and, as I write we don’t know if the EU will grant Parliament’s latest request for an extension until 31st January next year or if we’re leaving next Thursday. It’s quite a state we’re in!
Across the UK there was a narrow majority of 52% to leave the EU but Scotland voted by 62% to remain (and Northern Ireland by 56% to remain) and now finds itself having to leave without its consent. Believing that our Devotions should inform, and be informed by, our context, various writers who live and work in Scotland have crafted seven Devotions which, we hope, will stimulate discussion, thought, and prayer in this pivotal week. We want to be able to speak about the State We’re In as our context rapidly changes.
Our Devotions this week are not partisan but use the backdrop of Brexit to help us reflect on the State We’re In. Craig Jesson, who serves as a minster to three churches in Lanarkshire, reflected on repentance in the Bible and the need for it over our imperial past. David Scott, who serves two churches in Edinburgh, thinks about how imperial nostalgia influenced both the people of Israel and how we think now. David Coleman, the Synod of Scotland’s Eco-Chaplain ponders the signs of the times in Jonah and the possibility of a change in environmental regulations that protect us. John Collings, a member of Rutherglen URC and a lay preacher, makes links between slavery in Biblical times, at the time of the Union, and modern day slavery. I work in four churches in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and East Ayrshire, and reflect on fake news looking at a passage in Genesis which was misused for generations to justify the enslavement of black people. Stewart Cutler, minister of St Ninian’s Stonehouse, ponders the end of Empire and the division of the Kingdom of Israel. Jack Dyce, the Emeritus Professor of Nordic Theology at the Scottish College, concludes this short series pondering Zechariah’s admonition to despise not the small.
We hope these reflections from Scotland help us all to think about our current political debates and dilemmas with a different perspective as we seek to unite our discipleship with our rôle as active citizens.
with every good wish
Andy Braunston Co-ordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC