Seeing Clearly

The morning after a General Election is not generally remarkable for restrained or kindly behaviour. People are tired, emotions are raw, and many say or do things one hopes in more reflective mode they might not. There is quite a lot of ’emoting’ on social media, where the accusations and insults of the disappointed fly around in a profanity-laden whirlwind and the jubilations of the jubilant require a flak-jacket and ear-plugs to avoid. Some are prophesying a coming age of gold; others, doom and gloom. Some are preparing to leave the country; others are convinced that the U.K.’s finest hour is just around the corner. It all depends how we view things.

Today is the memoria of St Lucy and I think we can learn a useful lesson from her. According to the Acts of the Martyrs, she was martyred in Syracuse under Diocletian. Most of what we know about her is really just the conventional stuff of early hagiography. There is enough, however, to have given us some very fine Vesper antiphons, while artists through the centuries have seized on the detail that Lucy’s eyes were gouged out before she was killed. Not surprisingly, therefore, she is patron of the blind and visually impaired — all who do not see clearly. This morning I think she must be working overtime.

Physical blindness or visual impairment can be frightening, as I know from experience, but not to be able to see in a moral or intellectual sense can be more daunting still. We lose touch with reality, are thrown back on the inchoate thoughts and emotions that bubble on and on inside us like the Tennysonian brook. My sense is that something like that is affecting many people in Britain this morning, yet the Advent liturgy provides a valuable corrective. Isaiah 48. 17 is explicit where our trust and confidence should lie:

Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is good for you,I lead you in the way that you must go.

The Lord never abandons us, never allows our cloudy vision to hamper his plans for our well-being. However much we may disagree about political leadership, the Lord is our true Leader, the one who will guide us into the way of peace and salvation. If we follow him, all will ultimately be well. Easy to say, I know, but much harder to believe and act on, but that is precisely what we must do: believe and act, which means trusting and, as often as not, silencing the inner clamour that prevents us from doing so. God does not insist or force us. We have to allow our eyes to be opened to the possibilities that grace offers.

This morning let us pray for our newly-elected M.P.s and for ourselves, that we may see clearly and do what is right.

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5 thoughts on “Seeing Clearly”

  1. Thanks for some words of comfort. I think to myself that some people do not seem to be able to see a bigger picture beyond single issue politics, as a way to try to empathise. Good to remember there is yet another bigger picture again!

  2. Thanks for drawing our minds back to the Holy and Divine, rather than the temporal.

    Politics is a frenetic rush towards being a winner (or loser) and how we approach either result needs to be tempered by a spirit of humility and compassion. So many good people have lost their position, while others fresh to the fray will take their place. Gloating isn’t something that I do, but perhaps the country will reflect on how we now have a new political reality, which could be divisive although the speech from the PM this morning, holds out some hope of a future unity. Events will tell us the story of our progress over the next five years.

    I pray for unity, for good governance and the removal of the poison which seems to have dominated politics in recent years.

  3. Thank you sister! I have to prepare a sermon for Sunday. I have been praying for a different outcome, but we are what we are, and we do need to ‘see clearly’ how to hold onto grace, hope and generosity of spirit.

  4. And now:
    We help the most vulnerable in any way we can.
    We donate to food banks.
    We campaign for living wages.
    We fight for our NHS.
    We sign every petition that we can get our hands on that might improve something.
    We find common humanity and we cling to it.
    We check on our vulnerable neighbours.
    We take care of one another.
    Yes, including people who voted differently to you.
    Fighting for what’s right means fighting for it for everyone, not just people you like or agree with.
    We engage with our MPs, write to them, raise issues, ask them to represent us in Parliament.
    We get back to basics – read our local news.
    Do all we can for all the seemingly small things in our own areas and communities – every church that helps and cares for the community, every library, every children’s centre, every school place, every youth club, every refuge, every firefighter, every post office.
    Yes, you. Who else?
    We stand up for one another.
    We put the message of Jesus ‘love one another’ whoever they are at the heart of everything we do.

  5. On Sunday I lit a candle for my re-elected MP, and another for those newly elected. There are privileges to being an MP, but for many it is the start of a job working away from home, where instead of informed scrutiny they will receive abuse just because of the job they do. Yes, we care desperately about what they say and do, but we must also ask the Holy Spirit to support them in this all-consuming lifestyle-changing job.

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