I am writing this in the week before Australians are to go to the polls to elect a new Federal Parliament. I support the view that the Church or churches should not engage directly in the political process by advocating for a political party or an individual as the Australian Christian Lobby has, exceeding the bounds of acceptable engagement by targeting individuals who do not do as they wish. This is not to suggest that the Church should not have a voice in the political arena, or that individual Christians should abstain from political action, debate, and discussion. Throughout his ministry of sharing God’s unconditional love and grace Jesus continually sided with the excluded, the outsider, the widow, women as well as men; he spoke truth to power and gave his all for the other.
As we come to cast our vote, what will be the criteria we use to determine how we respond to the various invitations to vote by those seeking to represent us in the next parliament? It is I know a challenging question for many. As I go to vote my thoughts are not about myself but what is needed in our nation and local communities to sustain meaningful life here on this planet given to us by God and the life it sustains. To follow in the footsteps of Jesus requires deep thought and reflection about the need for public housing, the education of all children, a strong and robust health system, fair and just wages and a strong foreign aid budget.
As we gather for worship this week may we bring before God our nation and all those who are offering themselves for leadership, that they will all aspire to the highest ideals of building God’s kingdom for all people irrespective of ethnicity, background, status, or wealth.