Helen Kirk: May 2017
But we voted last year and the year before......haven't we all had enough of politics?' For many the sense of political overload is keen and I hear the same things being said again and again about this election so here is my response to the usual phrases:
'I can't be bothered to vote.'
Well, let's remember that for a lot of people 'being bothered to vote' isn't or wasn't an option. In many parts of our world people would love to be able to have the opportunity of democracy. And of course, it's worth remembering that this opportunity is a fairly new phenomenon here in the UK — it's less than 100 years ago that all men received the vote and less than 90 years for women. Such rights were hard won by our forbearers.
'Ok, so people died so I can vote but let's be honest my vote won't count.' There is an old fable that asks the question' how many snowflakes does it take to fell a tree branch?' The answer is one; the last one. Even after millions of snowflakes have settled on a branch it still takes one more to make it fall. In the same way that we can never tell the effects of the small things we do to make a difference but we still do them because the cumulative effects of everyone doing small things can be astonishing. So your vote could be that one snowflake!
'But I don't know who to vote for'
To be honest, I'm not sure I do this time but I will try to vote by looking at the bigger picture. As Christians, we vote not with our own needs in mind but the needs of our community, our nation, those who struggle and are not valued and those for whom life is difficult through no fault of their own. As Christians, we remember that even though we are citizens of a country we are also citizens of the Kingdom of God and that gives us a different perspective. So, as we make our decision we must do so with 'Kingdom eyes' focused on justice and inclusion, healing and wholeness; life in abundance for all not just a few.
'Hang on, why am I reading about politics on a church website? Surely faith & politics don't mix?'
Tell that to Desmond Tutu, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King and many others whose faith inspired them to challenge systems that divided and excluded...including Jesus Christ! Our Faith is not just the quality of our worship but the service of our lives...for Jesus that service included lifting up the lowest, offering bread to the hungry, hope to the hopeless, grace and healing to those deemed lost and a welcome to those on the fringes.
So go on, why not take your faith to the ballot box...
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