Worship during Brexit
As Brexit discussions continue to divide us, how can we prevent and heal the fractures within our congregations, across the Church, and throughout our communities? Here are some practical ideas and materials to help promote respectful dialogue amongst people of faith.
Take time to reflect
Where do we recognise Jesus in these challenging times and do we feel that He is present? Some might say that He is ‘where He always is – with the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised’, or ‘at the table with the tax collectors and fisherman, because all of us live in the presence of God and Jesus comes to us all’.
What is your take on whether religion and politics mix? For some there is safety in distance – ‘if God is not in it, God can’t take a side I am uncomfortable with, or my point of view won’t be challenged if I keep God out of my political views’. For others there may be concern – ‘what if language meant for prayer and worship is weaponised to force an opinion or point of view?’
Whatever our personal experience is, faith does not cease to exist at the threshold of the political chamber, just as politics does not cease to be at the door of the church. So how do we remain keenly aware of Jesus in the midst of tense political dialogue; family fall outs; and a fractured, polarised society? How do we stay aware of the presence of God in the midst of our daily experience of Brexit or for that matter, any difficult situation where conflict arises? How do we pray, in the midst of a turbulent political process, for our communities, for those we might too easily see as ‘other’, and for ourselves? How do we listen to what God is teaching us in challenging times?
Share a meal
Eating together is at the heart of community life and the centre of many activities in congregations. As we contemplate what Brexit will mean for our communities, we can be intentional in seeking to have grace-filled conversations about the challenges we experience at this time. One suggestion is that a good place to have such conversations would be over a meal.
If we are at a table with people we disagree with, how do we talk to each other while recognising the tensions and differing opinions there may be? What can we learn about how we should be acting towards each other in the present-day reality of Brexit? How can we give these things to God? How do we listen to what God is teaching us? What might a grace-filled conversation with someone equally as passionate from another view point look like?
There is no need to organise a special event – these simple resources can be used flexibly, for example, at a ‘bring and share’ lunch after a Sunday service, at a meal in your own home, as part of a coffee morning, or as part of any occasion where food is shared. It might be interesting to include food from other European countries as part of the menu or food on offer.
This Blessing and these Graces are intended to encourage reflection and help you initiate meaningful and grace-filled conversations:
Find wisdom in the Bible
Six Bible Studies for Brexit: This series of six Bible stories includes questions for exploration and reflection.
Find support in prayer
In challenging times prayer can help us through difficult emotions.
- Praying in Challenging Times: This guide is designed to help us find support in prayer when feelings are running high.
- Responsive prayer for Brexit: This specially written responsive prayer is based on Psalm 136: