The Third Option

We were joking at the dinner table this evening that most people won’t know what to vote tomorrow. ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ doesn’t really cut it. ‘Go’n Then’ and ‘Gonnae No Dae That’ are probably more appropriate campaign slogans, definitely more understandable for us common folk that have no real idea about what’s actually going on. The whole nation seems to be spammed senseless with the endless campaigning for…

For what exactly?

What is it that we are actually voting for? Independence, yes, but what does that mean exactly?

One can’t deny the appeal of breaking free of the corruption of Westminster and a London-Centric, ego-centric parliament, even Yorkshire likes the idea. Neither can one deny that the Pro-Independence lot are just a little bolshy and will probably make just as awful rulers as our current crop. As for Nationalism versus whatever the No Campaign is supposed to be, are they not all nationalists really? For Salmond, the Nationalism extends only about half way down the island. For Westminster, it covers a slightly wider geographical area. They all want to be one nation, it’s just that the Yes campaign’s definition is a little more exclusive.

As Christians, our identity is not bound up in a land mass or a political entity but in Christ. We are just sojourners like Abraham. What does it matter if we are the UK? What does it matter if we are just Scotland? The answer is that it doesn’t. We belong to a greater kingdom. The nations will rise and fall as they always have but only the kingdom of Christ will endure forever. The whole debate does affect us but in a more eternal outlook, actually, it doesn’t really.

As for economy, what can be said? I don’t personally know anyone who can accurately predict the future (apart from the jolly few who have made their motto ‘We’re all going to die.’) and as Christians, is this really an issue? Our master provides for us. Of course there is wisdom in considering and planning for the future. It is responsible to do so but whatever the state of the world around us, the best laid plans can be lost in a moment. Ultimately, we rely on God to give us our daily bread, not any welfare system. This is not to deny that God does use our government as a way of supplying needs at times, but God is not human, he does not rely on politicians’ whims. He can use whatever means he sees fit.

It irks me to hear Christians getting worked up about whether to vote yes or no and how their fellow Christians should really consider the issue more seriously if they disagree with whatever viewpoint they hold. I will freely admit that I have been tempted to get annoyed about the attitudes of others but then I realised that we were speaking on purely human, material terms, no matter how we tried to kid ourselves. I am slightly more inclined one way than the other purely out of exasperation but I strongly believe that Independence for Scotland is not the answer. We are asking the wrong question.

‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’

No. No I don’t. But though it pains me to lie in writing even though my paper will be anonymous, I cannot cross the No box. I cannot condone all that it stands for. Or even some of what it stands for. Perhaps any of what it stands for? But I don’t believe that independence will solve Scotland’s (or the UK’s) problems either. So how am I to vote? I cannot honestly say Yes to the question but I cannot support the Nos. I have no idea what to do.

In all honesty, I believe that I am not alone in this dilemma. As Christians, this is (as is all of life) about more than just politics. It’s about doing what brings glory to God and furthers the cause of the gospel. The only answer that the Church can put her heart and soul behind is not one which may be found on a ballot paper.

I believe that ‘Please may we have some godly leaders?’ is as likely to be on the paper as devo max. Who knows, we may be pleasantly surprised when we reach the booths tomorrow but I doubt it. Nevertheless, we can cast this vote on our knees. In this we know for sure that we will not be ignored.

So I would like to ask you — in fact, with the strength of feeling surrounding this issue, I would like to beseech you. Pray for us.

First, give thanks that we can hold this referendum in relative peace. No one has died. Only twenty years ago the Irish were shooting each other over their choices. We have done well in light of this, even if there are bitter words between our countrymen.

Give thanks then, but here is the key thing I would ask for the country that I love, the place where I grew up, and my earthly home if it is possible to ever truly feel at home here; Do not pray against Independence. And do not pray against the unity of the UK.

My friends, pray that God would bring himself glory. May his gospel go out, may there be a great spiritual awakening and may we have godly men to lead us and show us the way. Pray for wisdom for us. Pray for unity. But pray for unity not under man but under God.

I do not know how I will answer an essay question with one word tomorrow (one letter, really, if you want to be pedantic). It will be the first time I’ve ever voted. But in a sense, remember that no matter what you vote for, it is your prayers alone that will be heard and it is your prayers alone which will be listened to.

‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’

No. And I don’t care if you agree or not either.

But I believe that God is giving us the chance to change the way things are and even if we do become a country independent of other nations, may we never become a nation independent of God though I fear that we already think ourselves so.


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