Yesterday I was at Costa with Barrie. We go to different churches in Lowestoft. We were musing on the many different churches in the town… disagreeing about beliefs, services, priorities… Some work together, some ignore each other…
Community Church, Baptists, Anglicans, Methodists… division, dishonour?
Today’s November 5th.
1605… the ‘Gunpowder Plot’… Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament. As faithful Roman Catholics they felt it was their duty to assassinate the Protestant King James.
1605… ‘Separatists’, believing that churches should be independent from the state, were also in conflict with the church of England. A number of Norfolk ‘Separatists’ had been imprisoned… ‘the Pilgrims’ first met as congregations of Separatist Puritans.
1620… ‘The Pilgrim Fathers’ sailed in the Mayflower to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts, to escape religious persecution.
Catholics, protestants, puritans… division, dishonour?
Musing on St Paul’s words: ‘There is one body, one Spirit…one hope…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all.’
Religious divisions have existed in Northern Ireland for many years… Earlier in the summer Sir Jeffrey Donaldson became the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party; next year he’ll become Northern Ireland’s First Minister.
Yesterday I read of him talking about his Christian faith:
‘My approach to politics and leadership is grounded in my Christian faith and I think that each day, I’m reminded of the strength of that faith and how it helps to sustain me in the challenges and decisions that I face on a daily basis.
I have a motivation and a desire to help people. To meet them at their point of need. That is very much at the heart of my politics – being able to do things that can transform the lives of others and can bring about change.’
Donaldson may not bring religious unity, but if he can live and lead with consistency, integrity and compassion he will bring some honour to Christian faith.