I suppose that Brexit is by nature a vote for division since it was a vote for leaving a union, to exit the European Union. But here in Bordeaux in our International church the US presidential election also played its part in our feeling that 2016 was a year for division.
People say that these votes revealed the deep divisions that exist in the UK and in the USA. OK, perhaps. And in 2017 we have a French presidential election which will be contested by an as yet unannounced champion for the Socialist Party, by François Fillon for the Centre-Right "Republicans" and by Marin LePen for the far-right National Front. François Fillon is much further right than his rival candidates in the party.
It's interesting to me to note that the past presidents of France have said that they want to unite all the French, and indeed, M. Sarkozy did succeed in uniting quite a lot of French people in protests against him. There have not been protest marches against M. Hollande, but the country is united in its disappointment with him.
Incidentally, and quite off the point, really, I think the whole trend towards telling people what they'd like to hear rather than actually making any serious promises you could keep was easy to see in M. Hollande's campaign when he promised to cap the price of fuel.
Anyway, division. We know that it is not in the power of any politician to unite people and to overcome the divisions of class, income, background, colour, education, ability, whatever... These things are deep and powerful and politics lacks the power to conquer them.
But churches can and should show that these divisions will be overcome one day, and the seeds of their destruction are sown, germinating and will one day soon come to full fruition in the renewed heaven and earth.
Perhaps 2016 did us a favour in confronting us with what was there all along.