What do I fear? A post referendum reflection



The votes have been cast and the results are in, some are celebrating while others are angry or mourning. Right now everything seems very unstable and there are many questions to be answered. I cast my vote, and I hoped that we might remain in the EU, but it seems that is not to be, I need now to accept that, the result is what the result is, it will take a while for the dust to settle and for the full implications of the decision to be worked out.

So what do I fear? All through the campaign what became apparent to me were deep divisions, and sometimes those divisions were not really articulated well. The rhetoric of the far right was anti-immigration, anti-tolernance and anti- refugee, the phrase “we want our country back” was repeated again and again, and the possibility that such fervour brought about the murder of Jo Cox MP is chilling to say the least. BUT while the TV is intent on showing pictures and screening interviews with a jubilant Nigel Farrage I know many good folk who in good conscience voted out, they did so for good reasons and not because they are anti- anything but because they truly believe that out was the right way to vote just as I believed that remain was the right vote.

My deepest fear then is that we draw boundary lines instead of bridges, that we become a country even more divided because we refuse to see through the eyes of those who voted differently to ourselves. the rhetoric of victory vs the rhetoric of anger and disbelief is ultimately unhelpful, and while those of us in shock may well need some time to come to terms with the result we will have to do so.

So while I am unhappy about the possible  political,  national and global implications of this referendum I am not going to join in with any name calling or blaming, and I am certainly not going to vilify those folk I know who voted to leave.

What is clear is that we have challenges to face, and we must strive as a country to face them together to quote Owen Jones from the Guardian this morning:

Many of the nearly half of the British people who voted remain now feel scared and angry, ready to lash out at their fellow citizens. But this will make things worse. Many of the leavers already felt marginalised, ignored and hated. The contempt – and sometimes snobbery – now being shown about leavers on social media was already felt by these communities, and contributed to this verdict. Millions of Britons feel that a metropolitan elite rules the roost which not only doesn’t understand their values and lives, but actively hates them. If Britain is to have a future, this escalating culture war has to be stopped. The people of Britain have spoken. That is democracy, and we now have to make the country’s verdict work.

If the left has a future in Britain, it must confront its own cultural and political disconnect with the lives and communities of working-class people. It must prepare for how it responds to a renewed offensive by an ascendant Tory right. On the continent, movements championing a more democratic and just Europe are more important than ever. None of this is easy – but it is necessary. Grieve now if you must, but prepare for the great challenges ahead.

I was asked on facebook if I intended to vilify those in my congregation who chose to vote leave yesterday, my response was of course not! What I will do is call us to prayer, prehaps more than anything to lament our dividedness, and to acknowledge that, that dividedness does not ony stem from the referendum debate but from our very struggle to be human which is about defining who we are at our deepest level. It is our insecurities and fears that cause divisions among us and even within us. As a Christian I find my wholeness in Christ, not in or out of the EU, and not by any of the other ways I might outwardly define myself ( by gender, sexuality, nationality etc.). To hold to that in this troubled time gives me an anchor, we all face a time of change together, and for all of us it will be a challenging road ahead but we can travel it together, working out a way forward, choosing not to look back at what might have been. Yes we as a country will have a different place on the world stage, yes there will be financial implications, and yes we may or may not like them, but history shows that we have come through hard times in the past by pulling together and not by pulling ourselves apart.

So while I was speechless this morning and I do find myself lamenting the result, I choose not to allow my frustrations to turn to bitterness that causes more hurt, I will leave you with a verse from a Hymn, because the man who challenged me this morning revealed that he is more concerned about his wife’s cancer than the referendum result, and that is born of love which while it might be easy to criticise is actually where we find the heart of God. There was a time when I thought these words were simplistic and sappy, but the more I ponder them, the deeper they take me into surrender to the one who truly holds me in his hands:

Father, I place into your hands
The things I cannot do,
Father, I place into your hands
The things that I’ve been through.
Father, I place into your hands
The way that I should go,
For I know I always can trust you.

Father, I place into your hands
My friends and family.
Father, I place into your hands
The things that trouble me.
Father, I place into your hands
The person I would be,
For I know I always can trust you.


About Sally C

How do I describe myself, I am not what I do, (I am a Methodist Minister), I am not who I am related to (I have 5 wonderful children, 2 lovely granddaughters and 2 lovely grandsons). I am a seeker truth, a partaker of life in all it's fullness and a follower, sometimes stumbling, sometimes celebrating of the Christian pathway. I seek wholeness, joy and a connectedness to all things through a deep reconciliation with the God whose love blows my socks off! I love walking, swimming and photography, I dabble with paint and poetry...
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