Exit of Brexit Word on the Week 1st February 2020.
Midnight in Brussels or 11.00 pm in London heralded the departure of the UK from the EU, although it will continue to follow EU rules and enjoy most of the benefits of membership until the end of 2020. The occasion was low key. The ‘Leavers’ who gathered to sing songs were decidedly out of tune. Even the amplification failed to work properly – perhaps an omen for how the UK will manage in future.
In taking leave from Brussels, Nigel Farage the architect or rather the disrupter of the EU could not resist (although it was forbidden) a final waving of the Union Jack. Nigel, like the rest of us, does not like being told what to do but in his case his dislike focused on the EU. “We will not take orders” said the leading character of the divorce from Europe, a role he in which he had had a couple of personal experiences of in the past. By way of contrast many tributes were paid to UK officials by their EU colleagues who had worked alongside them for a portion of the 47 years since the UK joined.
The 31st January opened in Brussels with a rendering of the European Anthem. It is Friedrich von Schiller’s poem adapted by Ludwig van Beethoven called “Ode to Joy,” from the last movement of his Ninth Symphony. Schiller’s poem draws on the mythology surrounding the Greek god Elysium whose place at the ends of the earth is where certain heroes are conveyed by the gods after death.
The day ended with the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – which seemed to sum up the affection the workers held for each other. There are, of course, 11 months to December 31st to thrash out a trade deal. Let’s hope they will still be singing at the end of it!
Setting national pride apart, does it matter if the UK are out and Ireland, for instance, are in the EU? The answer depends on who we are serving. If it is ourselves we are accountable to then perhaps even Nigel Farage makes sense! But if conscience has been tutored by the word of God then we will be guided by Micah’s words in chapter 6 verse 8; He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does he Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly] with your God.
The Lord requires us to show the primary forms of love – justice and mercy, kindness and faithfulness, and to walk humbly with our God.
God is more interested in how we behave in relation to each other and to the countries and their citizens with whom we align. Jesus said we are to “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and all the things we think are important will be dealt with by Him (St Matthew Chapter 6 verse 33).