This is a copy of my article for my church's May magazine.
At the time of writing, the General Election is fast approaching. At your time of reading, it will loom even closer or possibly may have passed. Either way, it is a significant time in the life of the United Kingdom.
I confess to feeling a little disenfranchised in our Buckingham Constituency. We have the privilege of having House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, as our Member of Parliament. However, convention dictates that the main political parties do not field candidates out of respect for the office of Speaker and to ensure that he is re-elected. It could be tempting not to bother to use our vote, since the result is a foregone conclusion. That would be to fail to exercise our hard-won right to vote and to forget that there are also local elections taking place.
What can we do when it comes to the elections? What does the Bible have to say?
Firstly, we can show concern. In 1 Timothy 2v1-2, we are urged to pray for ‘all those in authority’. The task of politician is often a thankless one, but they need our prayers whether or not they are people of faith. To be honest, we need our prayers too – it reminds us that government is essential for the order of society. Of course, our prayers should not only be at the present time but all the time!
Secondly, we can show respect. Romans 13v1 says, ‘Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.’ We will not always agree with those in government, we will sometimes need to oppose, but if we are indifferent we show a lack of respect for the authority that God has allowed.
Thirdly, we can show up! It could be said that the government we get is the government we deserve. The more people who vote, the more will our government reflect the will of the people. Also, when we vote we earn the right to criticise and hold to account our elected representatives, be they Member of Parliament or local councillors.
Finally, we can show interest. It’s a bit late for this set of elections, but it would be great to have members of our church having the conviction to stand for election in the future. Take a look at www.christiansinpolitics.org.uk and, in particular, the ‘Show Up’ video. It’s very thought-provoking.
As we vote, and as the make-up of our new government becomes clear, may God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done, on earth as in heaven.