It's local election day and as we prepare to put a tick or a cross in a box, I am reminded of these words in 1 Timothy 2:1-4...
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
There will always be a diversity of political opinion within the church that we must handle together with grace and love. But there are at least 2 things that unite us as the People of God when it comes to the world of politics - Allegiance and Prayer!
- Allegiance: Some of my most interesting and challenging moments of "pastoral peacemaking" have been around political opinion in the Church. In such times, my starting point is always about where our "true allegiance" lies. The Apostles held to a simple confession of faith that drew them firmly together when they declared "Jesus is Lord!". That simple statement also recognised that if Jesus is Lord, then Caeser was not. It is important that the people of God are aware and involved in the social and political world around them, but irrespective of which party we align with, our true allegiance lies in one direction only - Jesus is Lord! I'm aware that some today may feel disillusioned with the world of politics and lost in terms of who to vote for, but in the midst of that concern or confusion, we unite together in our faith and allegiance to Christ and his Kingdom. which has already broken into this world! In the midst of it all, Jesus is Lord!
- Prayer: When Jesus taught his disciples to pray (Matthew 6:9), he included these words to our Heavenly Father, "Let Your Kingdom come and Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven". The rule and reign of God has already broken into our world in Christ and we are called to join with him in celebrating, entering, living, declaring and demonstrating the beauty and righteousness of His Kingdom. But we are also called to continue to pray this as a prayer of hope both for here are now as well as for eternity - Lord, break into the realities of this world and establish your Kingdom rule and reign. But scripture also invites us to pray for those in power and authority over us. That's what the opening verses of 1 Timothy 2 urge us to do. So, as you vote today, and inspite of how you vote, take time to pray for ALL our leaders in the various places of power, and then pray for our communities, city, region and nation.
May our allegiance to Christ never waver, and our life of Prayer never wane.