After hearing from these candidates, and having been informed about their policies and priorities, we encourage everyone to use their vote and engage in the political process. One of our congregation and member of our PCC, Lucy Parker, has brilliantly laid out some reasons to do so in the article below – enjoy!
After 2016, is it any wonder that increasing numbers of people feel misled, disillusioned, or apathetic about politics? Others argue that faith and politics should not mix, which leaves us questioning what our position on voting and public life should be.
But faith can’t just be a private endeavour; Jesus urged His disciples to “let [their] light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. And looking at the likes of William Wilberforce, it’s hard to argue that good deeds can’t be done in politics.
So what on earth are we to do? Here are three things I’d start with.
My Grandfather has been sending me newspaper cuttings since I was a teenager as a way of encouraging me to take an active interest in the world around me. Recently, I asked him why he votes in elections. He used one word: freedom.
He explained that he believes that he has been set free through Jesus and called to use his freedom to serve others: “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). He also pointed out that hundreds of thousands of people in the world still don’t have the right to vote, so he sees it as a privilege not to be taken for granted.
By voting we publicly recognise that we submit to the authority of the political system in our nation as established by God (Romans 13:1-17). Voting also has biblical precedence; Acts 14:23 describes how the early Church elected elders that way. Plus, it’s one way to seek the good of those around us and our nation as a whole (Jeremiah 29:7).
Yet, voting is the very least we can do – we can seek God’s reign on earth every day, not just one day every few months or years when an election is called!
One way of doing this is to pray for our leaders on a regular basis. Paul encouraged Timothy “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” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
The Bible is full of accounts of “those in authority”; from Kings, to Judges, to religious leaders. The accompanying stories describe the reasons why they all needed prayerful support from those around them. Being a leader in any context is hard work.
So how should we pray for our leaders? Whether or not they are Christians, we should pray that God will guide them as they guide us, and pray for wisdom, discernment and protection. There are an overwhelming number of leaders in society, so choose two or three individuals or groups to pray for, and uphold them regularly.
3. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
Thirdly and finally, if you want to go one step further and become an influencer yourself, you can make your voice heard on the issues that matter to God and to you.
Patrick Regan, founder and CEO of youth work charity XLP, argues that social transformation is possible because God is working restoration and redemption in communities. But it also requires us to put our feet on the ground.
In his letters to the early church, Paul implored them to help those in need (Ephesians 4:28), and to act because of the hope they had in Jesus (Romans 8:18-30). The same call applies to us today.
A version of this article was first published at: http://www.moreprecious.co.uk/blog/2017/5/17/why-v…