April 2015

Making one’s mark

Much of the news agenda this month is going to be dominated by coverage of the General Election campaign, and politicians will be going out of their way to try to work out what it is that people want and then say that they will promise it. That, at least, would be the cynical view.

A healthier view would be to say that the formation of the next parliament will determine for good or ill what this country will stand for over the next five years and, whatever our view about politicians as a breed, it is important that we use the opportunity to elect those of whose determination we approve.

Now there will be those who will be nervous about a discussion on politics appearing in a church newsletter, and this will especially apply to those who feel that the church should keep its nose out of politics. Well, if that is you, I fear I have bad news for you. Contrary to what some people might think, the church is not primarily about the salvation of individual souls: it is first and foremost about the transformation of the world. It is about bringing in a kingdom of peace, justice, love and reconciliation, and I find it very difficult to imagine how anyone thinks that the church can be engaged on something so global – especially when there are places in the world where peace, justice, love and reconciliation are manifestly in such short supply – without touching on matters which would be perceived as ‘political’.

Do please note that I am not talking here about party politics. I would not presume to advise anyone on which party to vote for. I would, however, say to any Christian that first of all you ought to vote: Christians should always be concerned for their community, and how that community is governed is clearly an important concern. I would then say that, when voting, you should bear in mind, not your own self-interest, but rather the values of the kingdom whose coming we pray for every time we say the Lord’s Prayer. Who do you think is most likely to work for peace, justice, love and reconciliation? That must be the most important question we ask ourselves as we put our cross in the box.