This Game of Thrones

Elections are just around the corner. The polls show a very close run race. The opinions are divergent and heated. One thing is sure. It is quite likely that the UK political map will be changing. With all that in mind, here are some (hopefully helpful) pastoral considerations on this important matter.

Play your role. Voting is a marvelous privilege and often a daunting responsibility. To be apathetic or cynical (as tempting as that might be) is almost a lazy option. As Christ followers we have both opinions and ambitions and they should be reflected in our involvement. I believe in ‘kingdom come’ not just then and there but the here and now (limited though it may be).  So this is a good time to get involved.

Matthew 22:21 NLT: “Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” – I am aware that some commentators feel that this is some ‘code’ for insulting the empire, but the context, I feel, renders a literal reading.

Pray for wisdom. We need more than just information and evaluation of information. Often politicians and parties are notoriously deceptive, especially in their pre-election promises. We need God’s perspective on our nation and the important issues of our times. Human intelligence isn’t sufficient. We need the shrewd wisdom of serpents, in Jesus’ words. This is also a good opportunity for a more focused and passionate prayer time for our nation, communities and leaders.

James 1:5 NLT: If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

1 Timothy 2:2-3 NLT: Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Saviour.

Prepare well. Start from the premise that this is a post-Christian nation, that has only some form (not spirit) of Judaeo-Christian values. None of the parties are Christian or stand on a Christian platform. All of them have some objectives that reflect the heart of God and some that are opposed to His heart. Read their manifestos. watch the debates again. Go to your local hustings. Ask yourself what God would desire for this nation? What does break His heart? What should change? Which candidate or party comes closest?

Play nice. As a church we are a beautiful mosaic of people. Many different stories and backgrounds and rivaling political leanings. It often seems to be almost acceptable to be aggressive, sarcastic and dismissive of someone else’s concern and solution. Let’s model a respectful and gracious manner as we seek to each fulfill our personal responsibility to vote our future leaders in. Beware of your social media content and comments – they are often a window most of our friends look through. Let them see Christ-likeness there.

Philippians 4:8 NLT: And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honourable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

The Tapestry of Unity

Photo by Birmingham Museums Trust on Unsplash

Unity has many faces. Some are hideously ugly, others mesmerisingly beautiful. Some enforced with an iron fist, others enjoyed with a selfless loving humility. Man-made or God-crafted.

One of the many reason I love our church (the people, not the building or the gatherings), is our variety. Our roots and skin shades, our stories and our struggles with one common denominator: Christ’s love. This diversity can be our blessing or our curse. We can chose to collide or be woven together by God’s skilled artistry.

The secret is to see those around me created by God’s amazing originality.

The secret is to allow God to do his work in me first, not just in us.

The secret is to see beauty in someone not being like me.

The secret is to ask what can I do for others, before asking what others can do for me.

The secret is to try to ‘get’ people,  getting over barriers of fear or eccentricity.

The secret is not to expect to see the beauty of unity close-up but only from afar.

The secret is to assume the best and make room for genuine excuses.

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

John 17:23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Colossians 3:13-14
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

This week (and not only this week): pray for unity & play your part in loving, serving and encouraging