Saturday, April 23, 2011

NZ a Republic?

Published in Challenge Weekly in 2010

Our national anthem begins, 'God of Nations...' This is a great statement theologically, summing up the biblical truth that the world, despite its seeming chaos, is in fact under God's sovereign control as he shapes history toward its glorious climax. As such, NZ being part of the Commonwealth has been one dimension of this. Our participation in the Commonwealth has used by God as he has worked out his purposes over the centuries. Not that it has all been good, the British Empire has been guilty of horrendous injustices. Yet, God has worked in these and through them seeing his gospel go to the ends of the earth.

Today, as I ponder the media circus around the news that Prince William is getting married to Kate Middleton, it is bringing me to the point where I think, 'enough is enough!' Aside from the good news this is to those in their families, who cares? More importantly, should we care? It seems to me it is a royal time for NZ to break from London and forge its own path. Aside from holding an increasingly mediocre sports event every four years where NZ gets a chance to win some soft medals, it is utterly irrelevant. In fact, it is embarrassing especially when one considers the behaviour of the royals over recent decades and aspects of Britain's colonial history. My only concerns about NZ becoming a republic is that it severs an essential part of our history, it gives us no external point of reference in judicial matters and it has seemed good to be Great Britain's friend. Yet we can remain friends with Britain without being tied to them in the commonwealth and we have already broken from the Privy Council. I now see no reason to remain a part of the commonwealth.

So, it seems to me that the time is right for NZ to split from the Commonwealth and do her own thing. It is time for us to work through constitutional matters and find a common basis for moving ahead as a nation. We can work with Australia with whom we are so close in so many ways and where many Kiwis now live.  

In the meantime, I will somewhat reluctantly continue to give 'requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving' for 'everyone – for kings (and queens) and all those in authority' (1 Tim 2:1-2) i.e. Queen Elizabeth (sigh!). Yet even as I write this, my heart betrays me. I feel no allegiance to this queen across the sea. She seems so removed and irrelevant. The thought of Charles being 'my king' after all his years of infidelity and the fiasco over Diana's life and death, turns me cold. The thought of William getting married and being my king just seems laughable. For me there is one King, Jesus Christ our Lord, and I am an honoured citizen and ambassador of his heavenly commonwealth (Phil 3:20). That is enough for me. So, is it time to break with London? Go deeper!

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