What’s been the biggest story in London over the 2013? What issues have altered the city’s spirituality over the past 12 months, and how does that affect how we should be praying for the city? Here’s my suggestion of the biggest issues to touch on London’s spirituality in 2013.
- A royal baby: Surely the biggest news of the year that will affect the future of London was the birth of Prince George; the baby boy is in direct line to one day become King over us and continue the role of the monarchy in the second half of the 21st century. The press coverage of his birth may well mark a high point for the recent popularity of the royal family. The last three years have seen three massive royal events, and equally massive popularity for the family, through the wedding of William & Kate, the Diamond Jubilee, and then the birth of a direct heir. Now though there are no such events to come. The birth of Prince George closes the narrative of events begun through William’s engagement, marriage, and now first child. With Prince Charles taking on more and more duties from his mother, it will be interesting to see how the family is perceived in coming years.
- An intransigent press: So much of the royal family’s perception is bound up with the British press, and it’s not been a good year for them. We’re still awaiting the implementation of Lord Leveson’s report. 2013 was the year that a solution finally came together that had agreement from all three major parties, and the Hacked Off group that represents the victims of press intrusion. But it was vetoed by the press, who seem to want to resist any new form of regulation. At some point, the public will lose patience.
- More banker bashing: It’s been another bad year for banks, who have again been fined and vilified for their behaviour. Just last week Barclays was fined for not keeping adequate records, and earlier in December RBS, Citigroup and JP Morgan were hit for fixing interest rate benchmarks. Rate rigging investigations will continue into 2014. Alongside this, 2013 was also a year when tax avoidance issues started to get picked up more widely in the press. This initially affected corporations (think Google, Starbucks and Amazon) but it will also slowly start to catch up with the banks, the auditors and the legal firms who help multinational companies in avoiding their taxes. Expect this to be a growing issue in future years.
- A growing economy: The economy picking up is good news for David Cameron and Nick Clegg, with the next election now only 17 months away. But Ed Miliband has made some headway by talking about cost of living increases. All three party leaders will be taking some comfort from their achievements in 2013. The battle lines are already being drawn out for the May 2015 election.
So in all this, let’s continue to pray for God’s kingdom to come in and through every sphere of this city. And let’s take heart from the things He has been doing in 2013.
Mark Williamson also blogs regularly for One Rock, a training organisation resourcing missionary leaders across the globe. He’s passionate about good films, good food, getting into deep conversations, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markraynespark.