That was a surprise. Not so much the result as the change of heart overnight. I went to bed with the media forecasting a win for ‘Remain’. I woke to the media forecasting a win for ‘Leave’. Did something weird happen whilst I was asleep? On second thoughts, maybe it shouldn’t have been a surprise – the pollsters don’t have the best of records in recent times!
Anyway, we now know the outcome. The simple bit – the vote – is over. Now comes the difficult bit - the real work. Now comes the slow extraction of Britain from the European Union. Now comes a period of turmoil in the financial markets and probably in the real economy too.
Now come calls for further referenda – for independence in Scotland and Northern Ireland where the vote was to Remain.
And now comes the urgent need to reunify our community. Because it’s clear that it’s deeply fractured. Roughly half wanted to Leave, roughly half wanted to Remain. The EU referendum didn't cause the fracture – the division was always there. But it certainly made it worse. For there’s no room left for shades of grey in a referendum. Leave or Remain? It’s all about making a black and white choice – about choosing a tribe.
We will move on from this somehow, though the path isn’t yet clear. We’ll come out on the other side of a period of economic turmoil with a new political settlement. And we’ll rebuild a sense of unified community.
And the church has a role in all of this: to proclaim the good news – that hope conquers despair, love conquers hate, and new life conquers death.
To proclaim a kingdom better than either option offered in that referendum.