Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let's dare to hope

Life is cheap on Britain's streets. There aren't enough prisons to hold all the prisoners. The land is awash with drugs. The Government is mired in sleaze. The rate of unwanted teenage pregnancies is out of control. There is an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases. Each year the number of abortions beats the previous year's record.

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, appealed in the Daily Mail a couple of weeks ago for England to wake up and remember how Christianity has been at the heart of the history of this nation.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, said in the Sunday Telegraph: "It is time for a movement of Christians that will put the Christian case vigorously in public debate, that will remind the nation of its Christian heritage, that will make a difference where there is human need and, yes, that will commit itself to prayer in schools, hospitals, prisons, workplaces, Parliament and the streets so that people may experience again the blessing of God on this country."

Eighty Christian leaders met recently in the House of Lords to consider the moral and spiritual implications of the financial crisis. They felt strongly that the financial situation is primarily the result of the pursuit of moral choices and values that do not accord with the word of God; that God is calling all churches in Britain to a season of prayer and fasting for the nation; and that the Christian church should reach out to those who are already suffering as a result of the financial crisis.

Today, this very day, Christian leaders are meeting in Westminster to seek God for the way forward. It was hoped to have a thousand Christian leaders present.

A series of seven prayer nights have just been held across London to pray for the capital and the nation.

Can it be that something is beginning to happen? Turn off the television for a minute. Switch off the news bulletins on the radio. Listen carefully. Can you hear a rustling in the undergrowth?

Can it be that God is not finished with the homeland of John Wesley, George Whitefield, William Carey, David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale, Lord Shaftesbury and William Wilberforce?

Millions of Christians are not yet marching in Britain's streets. But then, it might not take millions. The Bible is full of stories of a valiant few who, under God, "subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens."

Can it be that the tide is beginning to turn?

Pray with me and dare to hope.