I was bored. Sitting in a cafe waiting for my wife to finish speaking at a conference (now I know how it feels!) and this idea just came into my head. So I wrote it down and posted it. I’m sorry! It was a joke. It was satire. It was meant to be a moment of light hearted relief in the midst of a dreary Inverness world! But I get the feeling that I could write down the contents of the back of a cornflakes packet and it would start a fight! I am of course referring to Letter from Nicola Sturgeon Calling for a National Day of Prayer
It was an April fool – the best of which have to be plausible enough to be believed and implausible enough to cause those of us who are not taken in – to laugh. Like this classic.
So what was the problem? And what do the reactions teach us about our society today.
Firstly some people took it seriously. They thought it was for real. In fact so many that I quickly added the ps about the chocolate teapot….just to give people a bigger hint that it was not real…but still they came…some rejoicing and some weeping with rage! I guess in this age of post-truth, alternative facts where a reality TV star is leader of the Free world, an Islington Marxist is leader of the Labour party and an Italian clown could become leader of Italy, its getting harder to distinguish fact from fiction!
There was a lot of anger and bitterness – some from people who despise Sturgeon and I suspect would burn her as a witch!
Some atheists took their opportunity to gloat and mock. Par for the course. My favourites though were those who took it literally and started moaning – Tweet of the day? “Hmm what a waste of time, money just to please a minority of the middle aged”. I think Twitter must be perfect for atheist fundamentalists because they sure know how to cram a lot of ignorance, prejudice and irrationality into 140 characters!
The pedants got stuck into the grammar and speling….
Some Christians were delighted at this apparent about turn from our First Minister. And others laughed at them for being naive. ‘That would never happen in our day and age. Not in contemporary society’. Actually it could and has. The declaration part was lifted from President Obama’s call to prayer in the US. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, which is what I guess a good April fool should be.
“ oh dear Do we really want an April Fool on prayer, sackcloth and ashes, repentance, and seeking the mercy of God on the sad state of our nation”
Actually we do. It was satire. And it is a sad inditement on our modern society in Scotland today that such a call to prayer is in reality very implausible. Just as only those who were ignorant of how spaghetti is made could be taken in by the BBC Panorama report, so only those who are unaware of what is happening in Scottish society today would be taken in by my wee spoof letter. In previous generations and in many other countries today, a call to prayer for the nation would be normal and something that would be tolerated even by those who did not believe. The fact that very few, if any, of our current politicians would even consider such an idea, is indicative of how fallen we are as a nation, and how much we are in trouble. As my friend John Ross posted:
April fool or not, such a letter would mark one of the greatest political U-turns in history. All the roadsigns erected by Holyrood currently indicate the substitution of government for God. But God specialises in U-turns: he calls them conversions. Pray on!
As it happened I was writing a piece The Lucky Number that gets you to Heaven – Revelation 15 when this thought struck me –
I suspect we do not realize nor believe how vital and event determining our prayers are. You live in a democracy and have a vote. Your vote is important. But if you are a Christian, you have prayer, and your prayers are way more significant and vital than your vote.
And here is where the real fools are. Us. Those of us who are Christians and who know that God hears and answers prayer. What is the use of bemoaning the fact that our politicians won’t call the nation to prayer, if we, who profess to be the Lord’s people, don’t pray ourselves? That is no laughing matter. Repentance and prayer must begin with us.