Saturday saw the end of this year’s Six Nations Competition and I am pleased that Scotland is not at the bottom of the table this year. This, along with the IndyRef2, raises lots of questions about patriotism and nationalism. As does the debate about Brexit and the lack of security for those EU citizens who have been living and working amongst us, adding to the richness of our communities, while many of our fellow Brits have been happily living across Europe.
In these days of rising nationalism, threats of building walls, fences being put up and deals made to prevent migrants from making it into Europe, I think we need to reflect on what it means to be a human being and made in the image of God.
Paul reminds us in Galatians 3 v28 – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” And yet around me I see deliberate attempts to divide and put up barriers to our fellow human beings. To fail to recognise the person in need, to suggest that somehow one ethnicity or nationality is some how of more importance than another.
So it seems to me that maybe we need to be pretty radical and ask what are borders for? What does it mean to be of a nation or ethnicity and should that really trump “our citizenship which is in heaven” ?(Philippians 3 v20)
Should I continue to support my national team? Is that different? And instead of looking to break away from the UK should we all do everything in our power do work for a common good rather than look for that which divides?
My personal theme this year is to look to tear down walls and to build bridges: how do we do this?
By Adele Owen, Director of Gloucestershire Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (GARAS)