“Black …. day” is a term used for the day there is a major fall in the stock market. The last “Black” day for the stock market was Black Monday Oct 19, 1987.
In contrast with the gradual and persistent climb in stock market values over many decades, days like Black Monday are sudden, precipitous and often unexpected. They also cry out for attention and, in a similar way to all bad news, they can enter our consciousness much more than the gradual improvements that we experience over much longer time periods.
The results of yesterday’s referendum will have come as a shock to many. They also represent an enormous blow to the efforts of so many people who have poured time and money into campaigning to keep the 8th. Many of my friends will have lost sleep and spent money and time sacrificially. They did what they could and now they should rest content that they have done all that could be done. Their consciences are clear.
I know it doesn’t seem like it now but actually, if you take a longer view then things are getting better in this country as they are around the world.
Recently I have been challenged (by the Holy Spirit) to focus my mind on the things of Philippians 4:8: things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy. On a day like today this becomes more important than ever. Here are some things to think about:
- God: He is all of the above. Think about how much He loves us in that He sent His only Son to die on our behalf. The gospel is every bit as much good news now as it was before the referendum. A relationship with God is the ultimate answer to any wrong attitudes society may have. This referendum has led to many people thinking about God and the Good News in ways they haven’t done before. Only God really knows the hearts of people but there are many indications that, as a percentage of the population, more people know God personally now in Ireland than in the past and that percentage is actually growing.
- Family: The basic unit of society still applies to 100% of the residents of this country. All of us have (or have had) a father and a mother and many have brothers and sisters. We love them and they love us. Nothing in any referendum results has changed that.
- Friends: Everyone knows someone they can call a friend, someone who accepts them as they are without judging them. We all need them. One of the major plus points of this and the last referendum has been to encourage a non-judgmental attitude in the population at large. More people are accepted by more people as people than ever before. There will be a change in the constitutional status of many of those people and that is to be regretted. But a society that accepts people more will inevitably accept them at whatever stage they are, in the womb or outside of it and in whatever condition they are in, disabled or well. Most people voting yes in this referendum were not voting for abortion, they were voting for acceptance. I wonder how the result would have gone if the referendum had been phrased in such as way as to say “Vote “Yes” to retain the human rights of the unborn and vote “No” to remove them”?
- Honesty: People are not as afraid as they were in the past to be honest about what they really think on many formerly taboo issues.
- Creation: The sunsets are still lovely, the rhododendrons at Russborough House are as beautiful in May as ever, of all the things you may see still few are as beautiful as a tree. The increasing consciousness of everyone about looking after their environment has made Ireland a more beautiful place than ever. I walk down to the end of my road and see beautiful eagles and kites which, only a few years back, did not exist here. This is progress by this generation of young people.
- Excellence because of opportunity: athletes, figure skaters, football players (even) and any sport you can think of has become more inclusive, better funded, less dangerous, more participated in and more attractive and available to watch over the last 100 years. Consistent, upward, progress is the hallmark of the Olympics and many international sports and, again, is led by young people.
I could go on.
It is a bad day, but it is not the end of the world. Actually that would be a good day too for many. We need to concentrate on ensuring that these last days continue to be truly good days for as many people as possible.
I still don’t know a better way of doing that than telling them God loves them, unconditionally and at great cost to Himself.
Well done to all my friends who have gone to great extremes to get that message out there about the most vulnerable in society. People may have voted for compassion in a way that looks counter intuitive to many of us but they also know more about the preciousness of the unborn than ever before. Let’s build on that.