From the Newsletter

At the time of writing it is impossible to say whether at the end of October we are going to be citizens of the European Union or not!  Is Brexit going to happen or not?  I expect you are saying to yourself “Oh no! Not again.” and I wouldn’t blame you.


Yet citizenship is quite an important concept, it gives us privileges and responsibilities.  To be stateless in an uncertain world is a very uncomfortable thing, especially in today’s world.


St. Paul was a Jew, born in Tarsus in Modern Turkey, then a Roman city.  He was a citizen of Rome, and proud of it (Acts 22 vv.22-30)  It got him released from false imprisonment and a public apology from the Governor at.Philippi (Acts 16 vv.12-40). It afforded him protection in Jerusalem when the authorities would have beaten him. It gave him access to the final authority and justice (Acts 25 v10). In the end he was convicted for teaching contrary to the existing Roman law and executed but as a Roman. (Reading Acts from Chapter 21 to the end is really interesting)


Years after the Philippi incident he had written to Christians there saying “....our citizenship is in heaven and it is from there we expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3 v20) This citizenship was so important to him he was ready to die for it.


This reminds me of a hymn written by Cecil Spring-Rice in a time of war.


I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,

Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;

The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test.

That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;

The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,

The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice..


And there’s another country, I've heard of long ago,

Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;

We may not count her armies, we may not see her king;

Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;

And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,

And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.


                                                                                              Peter Brewer


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