For someone of my generation, the present political situation, as our major parties have been deliberating on issues of loyalty and leadership,–can feel deeply unsettling. Of course, this level of uncertainty is not unprecedented – former generations have, no doubt, weathered worse - and the time will come when we can reflect on the events of 2016 with hindsight and greater wisdom. Nevertheless, I find my prayers echoing the words of Henry Francis Lyte’s famous hymn:
“O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”
The various recent leadership challenges and cabinet reshuffles in Westminster brought to mind for me the jockeying for position that occurred in Jesus’ own camp. The gospels tell us that the question of ‘who was the greatest’ arose frequently among the disciples.
Undoubtedly, questions of power, status and authority will always plague human society. Our identities are so wrapped up in what we do and the influence we exercise that it seems almost impossible to extricate ourselves from such psychological trappings.
But the challenge of the gospel is that such a feat is, indeed, possible. Jesus’ prayer for his disciples on the last night before his arrest was that, above all things, they would be utterly united:
“that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them, even as you have loved me.”
When identity is found in employment, status or wealth, conflict and discord are inevitable. Unity and harmony are made possible neither by bland homogeneity, nor by paying lip service to diversity – but in in our identity as human beings, created, loved and redeemed by a saviour God.
God of creation, who wrestles chaos into beauty. Cut through our selfish agendas, remind us of our identity and unite us for your glory. Amen.