Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

December 16, 2018: Collide with a Promise Kept

From Fraser Macnaughton


The UK is gripped – some might say paralyzed – with the ongoing preparations for leaving the European Union (EU) next March. The narrow result of a referendum in 2016 (52% to 48%) to leave the EU has polarized the country in ways unforeseen. People have become more engaged with politics as they begin to ask what should be done, as it becomes more clear how difficult it is to extricate the country from a political, economic, and social union that has been in place for 45 years.


The situation is not helped by the fact that there is a minority government in power because it does not have the required numbers to legislate change. Also, within the governing party there is a diversity of views on the whole matter. This has led to a chorus of voices demanding a second referendum. Or not to leave at all because it is too difficult a process. Or just to leave with no agreement whatsoever. These discordant tunes lead to great uncertainty, which affects financial markets and the performance of the currency. Manufacturing and services are starved of investment. Into the vacuum come ever more strident voices, whipping up populist shibboleths, such as immigration and discrimination.


There is indeed an imminent collision coming with a promise kept, in large part due to and aggravated by media sound bites and slogans that oversimplify what was always going to have been a very complex process. The promise to leave the EU, in keeping with the result of the referendum, is proving devilishly difficult to keep. Whether the issue is the place of Northern Ireland, customs controls, the movement of migrant workers, common security, patenting of medicines, supply chains for basic necessities, and on and on, now that people realize how entwined the UK is with EU, the severity of the collision with the promise is looking more and more drastic. Perhaps unlike for the people who asked John the Baptist “what should we do?,” the challenge for people today is lack of positive and strong leadership across the board.


Explore…Luke 3:7–18

  • At this stage in your life, to what extent is a change of direction something you can contemplate?
  • How do you discern what the Spirit may be calling you to at this point in your life?
  • What techniques do you employ to sift out what you see as truth from the clamour of voices seeking your attention and action?
  • How much easier or more difficult do you think it is to hear the voice of the Spirit from a position of ease and comfort rather than hardship and distress?



Our faith teaches us that we cannot know everything about God. We cannot know everything about church, or about the work the Spirit does throughout creation. But when we do hear and when we do know, may we be brave enough to speak out when required, to inform and educate others when needed, and to pray in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. Amen.


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