I write this in early April, just back from a week of House of Lords duty: saying prayers at the beginning of each day’s debates, taking part in those debates, acting as chaplain to the peers. Brexit has been the main topic, including nearly 12 hours of it on the Thursday (4th April). But, as I write, I still haven’t the faintest idea, or even a good guess, as to whether we will still be in the European Union by the time you read this in late April or early May.
The road to Brexit is a bumpy one. The direction is unclear. Achieving (or avoiding) Brexit is far from straightforward. We could end up in any of a great variety of places as regards our future relationship with the EU and with other allies and trading partners. The news changes from day to day, and there is no clear voice – only speculation, rumour and guesswork.
Contrast the bumpy road, and the lack of clarity about our direction, with the wonderful words of scripture as brought to musical life in Handel’s Messiah. I’ve calmed myself down from the frantic confusion of Parliament by listening again to this wonderful music, and giving a talk on it in one of our parishes.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness:
Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low;
the crooked straight and the rough places plain.
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
get thee up into the high mountain;
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up thy voice with strength;
lift it up, be not afraid:
say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Arise, shine, for thy light is come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
In the political uncertainties of our world, we can find real certainty. Our future is bright with Christ. We have good news to tell. We can have confidence instead of fear.
With best wishes,
Bishop of Peterborough