Tomorrow the people of Scotland will be heading to the polls to vote on whether they will become an independent country. The various opinion polls are indicating that there is no majority view and that the vote could go either way. I was astounded to hear on the news about someone who has placed a bet of £800,000 on a no vote. Unless he is a time traveller from the future and knows the outcome, it seems a fairly foolish bet to place with the outcome so uncertain.
The thing I find concerning about the probable narrow margin in the result (whichever way it goes) is that without a clear majority the arguments will rumble on. It strikes me that rather than finding freedom as a nation, that this process has the potential to lead to Scotland becoming a divided and polarised land. I am not saying the referendum is wrong, the people of Scotland should have a right to make decisions about their land, I am reflecting on the consequences of asking the question.
People in Scotland are passionate about this referendum and after a lot of voter apathy in recent UK elections, it is likely that there will be a really high turnout for the vote this time. I feel compelled to pray for the people of Scotland that they would find true freedom and happiness whatever the outcome of the referendum.
When we think of a passion for Scotland, many of us would think of the cry ‘freedom’ from the film Braveheart but perhaps fewer of us will be aware of the passionate cry of John Knox:
Give me Scotland or I die.
Knox was a key leader in the Scottish Reformation. He was passionate about his faith and his desire was that all people would hear the good news about Jesus and have the opportunity to respond. He was imprisoned, spending time as a slave on a galley. He endured persecution but he clung to and preached about his faith at every opportunity. He was not afraid to upset people and he would always speak the truth even against those in authority. He was led by the teachings of the Bible and his faith was alive and powerful and this was evident in his preaching and the way he lived his life without apparent fear. Mary Queen of Scots said: “I am more afraid of the prayers of John Knox than of an army of 10,000.” (You can read more about John Knox here).
As I watch and read about the campaigning for the Scottish Referendum I am overwhelmed by the passion shown by both sides. Emotions run high in the debates and conversations because these people care deeply about Scotland and they want what is best for their land.
John Knox was sure that he knew what was best for Scotland. He wanted people there to hear about and follow Jesus and this was more important to him than living. As I pray for Scotland I pray for unity and peace in the aftermath of the vote. I also pray that people throughout the world would hear about Jesus and that many people would find the freedom that only Jesus can bring.