May letter from Mat

I’m ashamed to say that I am singularly unexcited with the general and local elections this month. I have found myself un-inspired by the campaigning. I don’t know which way to vote. As a Christian should I vote? And if so which way?

In the Church Times (9th April) the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan was reported as calling on Christians to take their voting responsibilities seriously, to “focus on gospel values and consider the common good when voting.”

As I’ve listened to different people talking about their election choices many seemed to be concerned with what a future government would do for them as individuals. Will I be better off? Will my childcare be paid for? Will I be listened to? Will my neighbourhood be protected and improved? This seems to be a poor approach and not loving of neighbour.

As a Christian shouldn’t I be concerned with the poor, those in need, those struggling with poverty, debt, unemployment and oppression? But then, each mainstream political party would say that they are concerned with those things. They just approach them differently. In truth none of the political parties have a monopoly on Christian ethics.

Still, I believe that as part of our love for neighbour, we should engage with the election and prayerfully consider who to vote for. We are, after all, called to be part of the society in which we live as Christians. More than that we are called to work within it to transform it for the glory of God.

Jesus did not come to subvert the political power of the day by force (or apathy). He came to transform it through his loving presence amongst the people. As his body now here on earth we too are called to that. Paul reminds us in Romans 13:1-7Open Link in New Window that we are to submit to those in authority. Not easy, but he also reminds us in Colossians that Jesus is above and before all things and that ultimately all power and authority is at his feet.

So what about voting? I’m going to vote. I’m going to follow my conscience and my political principles. I’m going to try and weigh them against my Christian faith. And then I will pray for the government that is elected no matter what party. Which way would Jesus vote? I’m sure that there is a sermon series in there somewhere. I’ll leave it with you to answer.

Mat

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