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The Word on the Week

Scottish Independence

The UK Cabinet made the unprecedented step this week of meeting in Aberdeen. The Prime minister was flown by helicopter to an Oil Rig in the North sea to make a speech In favour of a “NO” vote in the Independent Scotland election on the 18th September.

Meanwhile the Scottish Cabinet in waiting met nearby at Portlethan to discuss how the Scots could be persuaded to vote “Yes”. Both ignored each other!

As the debate proceeds it becomes clearer that finance takes centre stage. Considering devolution and a token government in Edinburgh inadequate Alex Salmon, the Scottish leader, wants full control of the currency. And strangely they want the UK Pounds Sterling to be their currency and not the Euro. This is despite the fact that entry into the EC is on their wish-list!

At present the EC has not much of an appetite for more independent States as it fears that other “State-lets” might look for recognition by Europe.

When I lived in Scotland I was pro an independent Scotland but after 36 years in independent Ireland I am not so sure! The children’s rhyme which we once skipped to underlined the interconnectedness of these lands; “Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, all mixed up like monkeys tails”. I think even then there was a recognition that what united the Highlander and the Lowlander was a common dislike of the Westminster parliament! Left to themselves who knows what skulduggery might ensue!

The Bible recognises 3 groupings, the Family, the Church and the State. When the 3 flourish mankind has prospered. Damage any one of them and decline sets in.

“The powers that be are ordained by God” (Romans Chapter 13 verse 1). God favours good Government. He also recognises the difficulties and instructs his people to pray for, and not ridicule, their Government.

Scripture is neutral regarding the division of one State into two being more concerned to the integrity of those who govern than the nationalistic ambitions of the people. Indeed nationalism is always about territory and power whereas patriotism is more benign being about pride in ones country, its freedoms and culture.

There is a third way to view the State which Jesus ushered in when he proclaimed that the Kingdom of God has arrived. This Kingdom is not an earthly territory but comprises the people who serve Jesus. He is their ruler and they obey Him. This Kingdom is the salt and light which permeates virtually every State, sometimes underground and often persecuted and misunderstood but bringing with it, freedom from guilt, a clear conscience and peace with God for all those who enter it.

Jesus calls you to be part of this Kingdom, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (St Matthew Chapter 11 verses 28/30).

It’s not independence but a dependence on Jesus that should be the goal.