The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
Psalm 113, 4-6
After several weeks of political campaigning, long enough for most of us to get bored of it, my country voted last week to elect a new parliament, a new group of people to govern our land, direct our policies and address our problems. As most of you will know, the outcome was not entirely as predicted, and many are deeply worried about the results, and what they may signify for the future of our country – not least its unity and stability. As a follower of Jesus, I am very grateful to live in a country where I am free to practice my religion without fear of persecution, and to share my faith with anyone who will listen. I am also very grateful that we live in a country which has been at peace for 70 years, and where political freedom is guaranteed – it is so easy to forget what a huge privilege this is and to take it for granted.
We do not in any way deserve such freedom, any more than those who do not have it are worthy of oppression! It is a gift, and also a responsibility… what are we doing with it? In the same way our material wealth and international influence are a gift and responsibility, a means to bless others and to bring health, hope, and the gospel of Jesus to places where they are so badly needed. I am so thankful that we have agencies which can take our financial contributions and turn them into aid, support and long-term investment which can transform lives and communities, so that people can fulfill their potential and come into a living relationship with their loving Father.
The bible is very clear that as followers of Jesus, we are to be ‘in the world’, fulfilling our responsibilities as citizens and supporting the rule of law. We are thankful that many of our politicians are also followers of the Lord of heaven, and have a duty of care to pray for them in their work and witness, regardless of their political stance! It is a relief to me to be reminded from the bible that although rulers and powers arise from among us to govern – sometimes oppressively, sometimes in ways that we are deeply unhappy about – yet over and above all, there is a greater power, a higher throne. While others may look to their politicians as the only hope for change, for stability or prosperity, I can raise my eyes higher, to the real seat of power, and entrust my land and all our hopes to God.
The psalm which I quoted above goes on to tell me what the manifesto of my supreme ruler is:-
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord. (Ps 113, 7-9)
Mercy, justice, and community… I can wholeheartedly commend my heavenly Father’s manifesto! His desire for his world is to see healing and wholeness, to see his beloved creation fulfilling the purpose for which he brought it into being. We are made to glorify our God, and to enjoy him forever, and through all the turmoil of history, the agonies of so many, the darkness and uncertainties which continue to abound, the people of God continue to assert that he will accomplish his goal.
His term of office will never end, and his appointed party leader is one who knows and cares about all the woes and burdens of his people. As a follower, I can be hopefully active in my own community, and trust that even through my own small deeds of faithful service, God is working to fulfill his purposes. I can pray for and encourage our human leaders to pursue justice and mercy, because I know that these things are according to God’s will. I need not fear the future, because God can work through whatever my elected politicians choose to do, in order to bless his people and fulfill his plans. The ultimate aim is all good, all glorious, and although we will have troubles, we need have no fears and can proclaim with the voices of heaven:
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.