“May Day” was how one of Britain’s top-selling tabloids greeted the announcement of Theresa May as its new Prime Minister.
It was quite appropriate, really, as the country reels from the shock of the referendum vote to leave the European Union. But there is indeed a call for much alarm and ‘dis-may’. For in spite of appearances of calm assurance, we are all at sea as a nation, and rapidly heading for the rocks, unless…
The short-term effect, from Israel’s perspective, is helpful. Both Mrs May and new Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson are friends of the Jewish state. But just as God expects more from his chosen people than mere survival and economic prosperity, so he does of Great Britain which has experienced huge blessing over the centuries. As our Lord said, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…” (Luke 12.48 ESV) More than anything else, God wants his people to repent of their waywardness and return to him.
Yet in her speech outside No 10 Downing Street, the PM’s official residence, Mrs May made a priority of commending her precedessor on the “social justice” he had achieved by changing the law on marriage to allow people of the same sex to wed. And I’m led to believe that Mrs May (as Home Secretary) had encouraged David Cameron on this measure in order to appeal to the gay community.
Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn also commended the outgoing PM on this achievement while reminding him that it wouldn’t have passed without Labour support. And Mr Cameron himself told Parliament in response that a comment of gratitude from one of his staff, who had benefited from the new law, was among the highlights of his time in office.
When I think of social reform, I think of the Bible-believing evangelical leaders of the 19
th century like slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce and those who campaigned against child labour like Lord Shaftesbury and James Montgomery.
But instead of hanging our heads in shame at the brazen promotion of such gross sin as homosexuality (see Romans 1.26 & 27), our political leaders actually boast about it! And it is seen as among an otherwise competent Prime Minister’s special legacies.
As to Wilberforce, the abolition of slavery was only one element of his two-pronged goal, the other being to effect a “reformation of manners” in the nation, by which he meant moral reform and a return to living by biblical principles. And with the help of great gospel preachers, he lived to see his nation receive a ‘new heart’ expressed in compassion for men and love for God. Now we are enslaved by sin, selfishness, secularism – and much besides.
Most of us are aware that we are sailing in choppy, uncharted waters and that, if we are not careful, the ship of state will crash onto the rocks. Yes, it’s time to send that ‘May Day’ signal!
The urgent need of the hour is to return to the Lord who has never failed us in the past. When we turned as a nation to prayer as the dark shadow of Nazism hung over our shores, God delivered us through the miracle of Dunkirk which saw a host of little ships rescue our men, and our hopes.
Who among our leaders now is brave enough to call the nation back to prayer and godly living?
Charles Gardner is author of Israel the Chosen, available from Amazon, and Peace in Jerusalem, available from olivepresspublisher.com