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United Kingdom divided?

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sermon for the Feast of Christ the King

What do you think about this?

The Prime Minister advises the Queen to suspend Parliament. The Queen suspends Parliament. Parliament takes the matter to the Law Courts who say that the suspension of Parliament was illegal and thus never happened. The Law rules that Queen did not suspend Parliament.

What we see here is a bit of a constitutional crisis in the United Kingdom over the issue of Brexit. Whether Brexit is right or wrong isn’t the issue: it’s the effect that this has been having on our society. The Queen has been shown to be a pawn in the hands of politicians who are seeking to broach an issue which has divided the British people almost exactly in half. The Queen is not a focus for unity any longer.


Of course, there is a big difference between constitutional monarchs who are part of a democratic machine and absolute monarchs who call the shots. There are very few absolute monarchs now and those that are do not usually refer to themselves as King or Queen but rather keep up the pretence of being a democratic leader. In the past century, we have seen how democracy can be manipulated so as to produce some truly horrifying political leaders who have taken on absolute authority.

Even in the Holy Scripture, kings are absolute rulers who are more military leaders than part of a constitution that keeps their countries in order. Reading through the Books of Kings and the Chronicles and we find kings described as doing good in the sight of the Lord or doing evil in the sight of the Lord. Some become pawns of Babylon, others pawns of their wives. The evil kings raise up false gods. The good kings tear down the idols and restore the worship of the One True God Whom we worship with them. What is interesting is that there doesn’t often seem to be any discussion about division or devolution in many of these kings. Most of the people just follow what their king does, or at least that’s the impression we frequently get.


There is one big account of division when the majority of Israel breaks away following King Rehoboam’s decision to stamp his authority. Rehoboam is left with Judah alone and this division continues right up until the captivity of Babylon. Rehoboam’s mistake is to listen to the wrong advisors who tell him to increase the oppression of the people.
Kings and Queens can only be the focus for the unity of the country when they are at one with the people and embody within themselves the qualities which their subjects can respect, trust and support. The trouble is that we are often given reasons why our political leaders should not be respected, trusted or supported.

Behind this, though, is the fact that, in order to be a united society, we cannot always expect to have our own way no matter how passionately we feel. 
Division occurs when the sin of pride takes over and makes us unwilling to find common ground.  If there is to be any common ground between Brexiteer and Remainer then both sides have to compromise on the issue. If there is to be any common ground between Monarchist and Republican then there has to be some compromise.


We are already in an Absolute Monarchy because that is precisely what God is. King Jesus calls the shots but He does so with His people’s welfare at the centre of His kingdom. 
Throughout His ministry He calls for human beings to recognise the common humanity that we all possess and which He has chosen to possess too. Yes, Christianity is probably regarded as the most divided religion on the planet, but each group of Christians will have Jesus Christ at the centre of their worship. Everyone who calls themselves Christian has some focus on Christ the King. Like the divisions in society, the divisions between Christians are all because of human pride somewhere along the line. When Our Lord Jesus Christ comes again in glory, Christians all over the world will flock to hear His word and do His bidding and find unity in Him.


This should be the Christian principle for choosing our leaders. As Christians, we must learn to see Christ in every human being on the planet, even in our worst enemy. We can only do this through being active in the practice of our religion. The more we see Christ in others, the more we will know whom He gives us to lead us because we will perceive Christ the King within them. 

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