“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’.
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)
Yet in her speech outside No 10 Downing Street, Mrs May made a priority of commending her predecessor on the “social justice” he had achieved by changing the law on marriage to allow people of the same sex to wed.1 And she co-wrote a letter to MPs urging them to support the measure before it became law.
Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn also commended the outgoing PM on this achievement while reminding him that it wouldn’t have passed without Labour support.
Historically, social reformers were the Bible-believing evangelical leaders of the 19th century like slave trade abolitionist William Wilberforce and those who campaigned against child labour like Lord Shaftesbury and James Montgomery.2
Wilberforce also achieved his other goal, moral reform and a return to living by biblical principles. 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.
Who among our leaders now is brave enough to call the nation back to prayer and godly living?
The ship of state is sailing in choppy, uncharted waters. It’s time to send that ‘May Day’ signal!
- By contrast to Mrs May, the vicar’s daughter, Margaret Thatcher, the grocer’s daughter, nailed her colours to the mast by quoting the Prayer of St Francis on entering No 10 in 1979: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith…” True, she made many enemies because she refused to compromise over principles, but her motivation was undoubtedly borne of faith.
- Wilberforce and Lord Shaftesbury were also at the forefront of promoting Jewish restoration, both physically to the land and spiritually to the Lord.