Thinking differently about Brexit

As turmoil seems to characterize the United Kingdom’s impending exit from the European Union, today’s contributor has been encouraged by the idea that God is an unending source of wisdom and inspiration.

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As I’ve listened to the BBC’s reports about Brexit – the United Kingdom’s impending departure from the European Union – I’ve found myself praying for an outcome that will bless all sides. The political issues are huge, of course, making this appear impossible. But one thing that can guide everyone through even the trickiest of waters is wisdom. As the Bible says beautifully, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).

To me, this wise understanding isn’t primarily about working out the seemingly endless details of the UK’s exit from the EU, as important as those efforts are. Rather, it’s seeking and gaining a higher understanding of each other, and of God as the one and only divine Mind of all. The scene around us often presents us as having many different minds with political agendas motivated by fear, confusion, and animosity. It can seem that the only possible outcome is dismay and dysfunction.

But Christian Science presents a different and, I’ve found, more constructive view of the situations we find ourselves in. Understanding that God is the one true Mind and governs all has many times inspired my prayers for myself, my community, and the world, bringing confidence that there really are viable solutions. A Christian Scientist in the UK found this out when dealing with a threatened strike of thousands of workers.

This was at a period when such strikes were more common and often endured for a long period, causing severe financial loss on both sides. As the manager directly responsible for negotiating with the union, he felt his first duty was to listen for direction from Mind. He was convinced that could lead to a practical solution acceptable to all. As he prayed, the idea that came to him was that everyone on the union’s side was a child of God that deserved his love and respect.

As he earnestly embraced that idea, another one came to him about a possible solution to the standoff. It was different from either side’s bargaining positions, but when he put it forward in a proposal, it was quickly accepted by all. The dispute was settled before a single day’s work had been lost.

In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes, “In a world of sin and sensuality hastening to a greater development of power, it is wise earnestly to consider whether it is the human mind or the divine Mind which is influencing one” (pp. 82-83). Willingness to listen for the wisdom of the divine Mind helps us step back from personal opinions, prejudices, and worries that can block forward progress or keep us from considering important issues thoughtfully.

The Bible presents many such examples of people and nations being blessed by turning to God in this way and relying on divine guidance. Consider the Israelites’ 40-year journey in the wilderness after escaping slavery in Egypt. They had no GPS, four-lane highways, snack shops, or other modern tools to help them. Yet whenever they turned to God for guidance and protection, they found a way forward.

While the world seems very different now, the same loving, wise God is here to guide each of us in our own lives and inspire our prayers for the world. The vital point is that no one can be excluded from the blessing of God’s love for all. Christ Jesus invited, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

This is a promise for all people at all times, not just for one person or one country, or for any special group of people in some past period of history. Each of us can welcome the Christ, the divine manifestation of God that Jesus brought to light, which strengthens and heals. And we can affirm in our prayers the universality of God’s guidance and love that lifts the burden of great decisions.

Given the diversity of opinions, there’s no way in which the final Brexit outcome can look the way everyone thinks that they want it to look. But the decisionmaking process can be an opportunity for people and nations to gain a greater understanding of how to work together, express more love toward one another, and evidence the continuity of God’s love for all.

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