The challenges of an Advent Election
Philip Young is urging us to vote in next week’s general election, and reminds us of the values that Jesus stands for.
Hands up who wanted a General Election during the dark and cold nights of December? Not many of us! The last time this happened was nearly a century ago in 1923.
However, for Christians, an election during the season of Advent is both interesting and challenging. We are encouraged to pray every day, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ and during Advent we look forward to the coming of Jesus as King and Saviour of the world. We look forward to the establishment of God’s Kingdom here on earth.
So, we ask ourselves, “What does God’s rule on earth look like?” Does it have any relevance to politics? Or are the realms of politics and religion to be kept forever separate? Do we want our Bishops and other leaders to keep their political views to themselves and only make pronouncements about religion and spirituality? Do we want our politicians just to talk about the economy and trade relations and not to venture into the realms of what the kingdom of God on earth might look like? You may answer ‘Yes’ and be glad to keep the two firmly separated. I take a very different view.
I think the two are bound to be mixed up and related to each other. We have one world, one earth, and one life here on earth. I believe that when we pray, ‘Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven’ then we are bound to be thinking ‘OK - what does this look like?’ How do we bring about God’s kingdom here on earth?
Jesus is the King of Peace and his teaching is all about loving one another and forgiving those who have wronged us. Without forgiveness, love and compassion the world is a very hard and miserable place. Do our politicians care? Do they care about the poor and marginalised? The Kingdom of God on earth will come closer if we are led by loving and caring people.
The Kingdom that Jesus brings in, and for which we pray, is a kingdom not only of peace but of justice. Jesus has come ‘to bring good news to the poor’ (Luke 4:18). In the Magnificat we see a care for the poor and a warning to the rich (Luke 1:52,53). The sort of politicians to bring about this radical change are those who have a real heart to help the poor and to bring about more equality.
God’s kingdom is a kingdom where there is great care for one another. Jesus’ teaching is to love your neighbour as yourself. This means a great love towards our fellow human beings. And when we ask, ‘who is my neighbour?’ then we are increasingly realising that this includes not only our fellow human beings but also our neighbours in the environment. To love our neighbour is to love and care for the environment. We human beings now find ourselves in a Climate Emergency where urgent action is needed to limit and reverse our damage.
The alarm bells are being sounded by our scientists and, increasingly, by more and more of us, who realise the need for urgent action to bring us all together to love and protect the planet.
So, this Advent when we pray ‘your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven’ then we cannot separate our prayer from our action. One of our actions is to vote on December 12.
The time has come to unite as a human race for the good of us all and to ask God to help us look after each other and the planet. The time has come for love and action to go hand in hand.
Come Lord Jesus, raise up your power and come among us.
The image is courtesy of Pixabay.com.
Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, and now lives in Felixstowe. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. In June 2017 he stood as an Independent Candidate for the General Election in the Suffolk Coastal Constituency. He is now Associate Priest at St. John and St. Edmund in Felixstowe and a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Philip is developing a new website www.revolutionoflovenow.com.
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