Marion our curate is on holiday at the moment so I said I'd chair our ecumenical prayer group that brings together we reticent Anglicans and our more vocal brethren from local charismatic congregations. She warned me that the chatter has taken over somewhat lately but as there were in fact only five of us present on Monday evening there were actually some blocks of silence when the Spirit did not prompt anyone to say anything (presuming what is said is indeed at his prompting).
I did gib a bit when Alan and Vi, our charismatic representatives for the evening, began on Brexit. 'Lord, we pray for our government in this mess of Brexit ... Why can't the opposition accept the sovereign decision of the people? Because they are sovereign, Lord, that's your sovereign will ... Lord, we just pray the naysayers and scaremongers will be silent and let the government govern ...' and so on. Swanvale Halt's Anglicans, while not universally Remainers, were significantly so, at least to judge by the people who spoke to me, and probably more than the 56% voting to Remain in the South West Surrey constituency at large. I, of course, couldn't possibly comment. We got to the end of our prayer time and I summed up by saying 'Lord, we humbly offer our prayers to you this evening, aware that we are all fallen beings. Where our prayers are in accordance with your will, hear them, and where they aren't, enlighten our hearts by your grace.' Everyone murmured assent. ('Especially those of us WHO ARE WRONG' commented S.D. when I told him).
What might be the link between the outlook of evangelical Christians and opposition to the EU, I wondered? There are some ideas flying around the Internet, including the pagan nature of the statue of Europa outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg (it's a very disagreeable statue, I think, but that's about aesthetics). I remember that back at school in the 1980s one of our teachers who belonged to a little Protestant church believed the EU was part of a conspiracy by the Pope to take over Britain and that Otto von Hapsburg was one of the antiChristian prophetic figures of Revelation. This character Mr Hathaway talks about Brexit being 'an answer to prayer and a divine opportunity for this nation to turn back to God', which I suppose expresses a sense that the EU is a secular institution promoting gayness, and that kind of thing.
I don't think our friends at the prayer meeting had such strong feelings, or at least they didn't emerge. In fact the burden of their prayers was that the lawful government was being frustrated in its purpose by - what shall we call them? 'Enemies of the People?' - on what sounded like the Pauline grounds of chapter 13 of Romans, 'everyone who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted.' Fair enough, though I don't recall the same people arguing out of Romans 13 when Mr Cameron's government was taking same-sex marriage through the legislature; Romans 1 was the text then.