Prayer theme for July

Vote for Jesus

With so much that is wrong with the world, and so much wrong in our country, it becomes overwhelming even to think about these things.  Most of us have enough on our minds without worrying about those suffering in our own country, let alone those suffering abroad.

Global warming isn’t affecting the UK very much and anything that could be attributed to climate change is irksome at most.  The conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza are a little too distant for most to think that escalation might eventually embrace us and immigration only concerns most when they hear of the unwanted presence of asylum seekers in towns not too far away. Compassion and empathy kick in with personal contact or when we hear a story that brings the issue to life in a graphic and heart-rending way.

As individuals we can do a little – a little that counts – via prayer, donations and perhaps a bit of personal intervention sometimes.  As a community and as a communal voice we can do a lot more.  That communal voice exists in the petitions, open letters and collective voices of concerned groups of NGOs and groups like UK Citizens and Manchester Citizens.  So far, those groups have had little impact.  Their time is yet to come.

Our time will come too.  We are Christians following the path of Jesus, not as individuals but as a Christian community.  The simple Gospel messages of loving neighbour and preaching that message becomes less onerous when we are united, undivided.  Three Cs tell us how it can work:  Charism (we all have a special gift from God which we are commanded to use in proclaiming his message; Community (we are a church of many parts with many charisms); Communion (we should aim to be a communion of people working interconnectedly and interdependently so that all is linked in one dynamic force.  The Church is not to be changed by the world; it is for the Church to change the world.

And so, when it comes to the election and time to vote we need to examine manifestos against the words of the Bible.    Care For What You Believe offers some insights supported by biblical references to highlight how voting is part of living out our Christian duty.  Here are ten things to reflect on before looking at what the political parties are offering.

  • Christians believe that mankind has been created to rule the earth and subdue it. Government is a means by which we steward God’s creation. Read Genesis 1:28
  • When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, he said to love God and to love your neighbour. Voting is one way we can work on behalf of those around us. Read Mark 12:28–34
  • Even though we may feel like exiles in conflict with the world today, God wants his people to seek the peace and prosperity of our nation. Read Jeremiah 29:7
  • Christians have a special calling to speak up on behalf of the voiceless and the most vulnerable. Read Proverbs 31:8–9
  • We believe that God has revealed to us his good law which helps humans to flourish, and we want to see it reflected in the laws our governments pass. Read Psalm 19:7-10
  • God calls us to submit to the governing authorities who we elect through our votes. Read Romans 13:1–7
  • The Bible tells us about occasions where leaders have led their people astray; the politicians we elect will shape our nation, and can lead people closer to or away from God. Read Isaiah 9:16
  • Jesus says that we should steward the gifts which God gives us. Many people in history have not had the gift of a voice in a fair, democratic election like we do. Read Matthew 25:14–30
  • God will hold us accountable for the actions we do not take, just as He will for those we do take. Not voting is not a neutral act: we are still influencing the outcome, just as if we do vote Read James 4:17
  • The Bible shows us that we are to care for our political leaders and to pray for them, so that we might live a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is to be our aspiration for the politicians we elect. Read Timothy 2:1–2

Care notes, “We have a biblical mandate to continue to engage with politics by not only exercising our right to vote but using it in a considered and wise way”. You can find their guidance and resources here.  However, many Christian churches and organisations offer guidance on voting and you may care to look for what your own Church offers.

Oh, Holy Spirit give me the strength and the will to reflect and discern and listen to what you are asking of me during this election

Help me to put aside my own need and vote instead for the greater needs of others.

Let me hear your words and advocate for a just world free of conflicts and exploitation.

Inspire me to play my part in tackling global warming.

Give me the strength to live out my life and play out my part, as I ask for Governments to play theirs.

Patricia

About Patricia Duxbury

I have lived in Lancashire for over 30 years, the last 15 of them in Clitheroe. I'm a former teacher and a member of St. Mary Magdalene's Church. I sing in the Church choir and am in the Open Church Group.

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