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The Word on the Week

A Nation Once Again

One of the hazards of being a Scotsman living in Ireland at the moment is that you are assumed to have some insights into the Independence Referendum. There is a general disbelief that one whose accent still sounds Scottish could not but be in the thick of it!

In some of the more Irish Nationalistic circles to declare that the Scottish debate is a lot of nonsense is tantamount to treason.

Any suggestion of “Better Together” is met with the charge that you are gripped by greed for English gold! The notion that one can quite agreeably live with the English/Welsh/Northern Irish is met with disbelief. Have ye no national pride they cry betraying a mindset that dreams of the four green fields in the glory days of Ireland.

To mention how well East and West Germany have united and where today the disunity is created by disproportionate incomes not accents is seen as somehow undermining 1916 and all that.

After the US gained its independence from Britain in the late seventeen hundreds the country did not fragment despite becoming home to a multitude of nationalities. Today the ethnicity of these immigrants can be seen in the flying of the flag of their Motherland in their front garden but it is usually flown alongside the Stars and Stripes of the land of their adoption.

In Scotland today the Saltire is being flown in the front garden in defiance of, not alongside the Union Jack flown in the neighbour’s garden. The discord, seen in rural areas, sparked in some street fighting in Glasgow last night between the “Yes” and the “No” sides. Whichever side wins the last thing Scotland needs is an aftermath of disunity.

The Bible recognises the Nation-State and startlingly declares that its authority comes from God. It further states that resulting from this fact we should submit to its laws with very few exceptions, Romans Chapter 13 verses 1-2.

On the other hand there is nothing sacred about national boundaries which over centuries fluctuate to accommodate nationalistic ambitions. The trouble begins when we want the power that goes with the authority thinking that if only we had it we would do a better job running our own affairs. A kind of divine right to rule as we fragment to smaller and smaller units or if we had the weaponry into bigger and bigger ones!

Jesus was clear that his kingdom was not territorial, St John Chapter 18 verse 36, but uniquely his subjects would inhabit every land. There were to be no frontiers that could not be crossed. Its citizens would be those he purchases with his blood from every language, people and nation, Revelation Chapter 5 verse 9.

The inhabitants of his kingdom would come from all walks of life and would be equally welcome Galatians Chapter 3 verse 28. So if you are a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom St Peter says you have a job to do, “You are…a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” 1Peter Chapter 2 verse 9.