It’s not news that our country has long been heading away from the Christian faith, changing our laws and norms, a sort of ‘Chrexit’.
But what do we Christians do about it? This kind of thing has happened before.
Back in Jeremiah’s time, a bunch of leading people were taken out of the Promised Land and exiled in Babylon. Brought up in Israel, they had to figure out ways of being the people of God in a foreign land, surrounded, presumably by all kinds of immorality and idol-worship. They were hundreds of miles away from the temple (which was shortly to be destroyed anyway). They couldn’t do their traditional sacrifices, the ones God had commanded them to do. They couldn’t get rid of the idols in their midst, because it would have annoyed the neighbours.
Jeremiah sent them a very influential letter of advice:
‘Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile,’ he wrote. ‘Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.’ (Jeremiah 29:7).
Is this relevant for us? Should we be lamenting the erosion of Christian institutions and laws? Should we seek to wind things back to a (supposedly) better day? Or should we be working alongside our neighbours, blessing them, praying for them and helping our communities thrive?
Which will gain us a better hearing for the gospel, I wonder?