Waking up and moving on

Today I’m sitting alone enjoying my lunch in an art gallery while my youngest is at her dancing class. I’m supposed to be writing my pieces for the devotional book I write for. But instead I’m reading bits and pieces from the fallout of the Referendum.

Last night it struck me why I didn’t really understand the need for reconciliation that the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has called for. It’s that strange east/west division that exists within Scotland. As a true East Coaster I have no knowledge or experience of the sectarianism that bubbles as you journey along the M8 to Glasgow. I do know that you don’t have to travel far beyond the outer edges of Edinburgh before you first encounter it. However for those who have lived in the West the division because of religion simmers.

I’ve grown up in a world where all are welcome in Christ, and don’t always understand the tension of denomination. This sudden thought then made me think that if the Service of Reconciliation is to be fully understood then perhaps it is in the wrong city. I get the importance of being in the city where political power is held but I wonder if the call for peace and reconciliation needs to be in the midst of a place where division and anger are forefront.

So that’s my first thought this lunchtime.

My other is the realisation that for the first time in a long time I have felt politically engaged, although privately. When I was ordained I let my political party membership lapse, and today I am going to renew it. I feel inspired to play my part in a Scotland where all are valued. I want justice in health care, education and social provision. I want peace, but with someone close to me working in the defence industry I’m also conscious of the need for some jobs.

And then once I’ve signed up, I’m going to write to my local MP and hold him accountable for the promises his party leader made with others. That last minute gasp of promises made as the realisation that a vote was “closer than they thought” is hovering. Gordon Brown may have made a statement this morning offering assurances that promises would be kept. But he is not my MP. After the slow start yesterday it might have been good to hear more than him speak of promise.

Politics in the pulpit. Not from me tomorrow. I’m off to visit Sunday School.

Then it will be back to speaking of the promise of heaven and the justice and mercy Christ instils for us to offer.



Referendum Day

Journeying home from a conference to play my part in the democratic process, I passed through small Scottish towns all caught in the business of the day. It looked like any ordinary day, as parents pushed their prams over the edge of the pavement, or old people stuck their zimmer-frames in the way of passing cars and lorries. Primary schools, church halls, Masonic lodges and community centres all giving a hint of what lay beyond the doors with the waiting campaign supporters hovering at gates.

Some of the towns displayed their voting preferences loudly, with flags and banners. While others looked their tumble-down selves.

Tonight taking my smallest person, I made my own way to cast my vote. The outside of our hall was quiet, and inside the hall there was silence. With almost church-like reverence the few within made their mark – a sense of the importance of each vote cast to be tasted in the air.

Tonight we wait…

What comment would I make about the journey to this night?

To begin with it has been amazing to watch people wake up to the significance of their opinion. It’s not just the number of people who have registered to vote or the suspect high turnout that bring a sense of pride. Instead it has been good to see people of every gender, generation and creed give voice to their concerns and their hopes; their values and their ambitions.

At times it has seemed like a dirty fight on both sides, but there is a sense in which we could all remember that the media and others are always searching for worst case scenarios to find their way into the news. That is not to excuse that behaviour, but instead a reminder that no-one will report the good natured conversation, or the shared proud moments.

It’s been frustrating to hear that some opinions are viewed as fact based while others are heartfelt. It does a dis-service to both sides. For while facts lie at the basis of all political campaigning and we may believe our heads are leading us to correct decisions, at the basis of all our decisions is a reflection of our ideals and hearts desires. Every choice we make, not just in politics, is shaped by the facts and by the way it will change our lives or the life around us.

Tonight we wait…

Well actually I’m going to bed and will see what the morning brings. I know there will be great disappointment for some, but I hope that the morning will bring the realisation that a new day has dawned and we must move on. Move on to the future we have chosen, for we played our part.