The week after polling day
Monday 27th April 2015
Apparently records are being smashed in this election campaign. The charity CARE reckons that 325 local hustings - meetings where candidates get the chance to be quizzed by voters - have been arranged by Churches through their organization, smashing previous numbers. http://www.care.org.uk/news/latest-news/record-number-church-election-hustings-registered
And CARE isn’t the only network doing this, Churches Together and other groups of churches connected to the Evangelical Alliance have been active all over the country. (More from Care on the election here; http://www.engage15.org.uk/
In our own city a little record was smashed. Our local churches-led hustings in the Southampton Test constituency saw more people present and engaging than all the other similar events the candidates had been to, combined. I was there and enjoyed the chance to know a little more about the people behind the faces that smile up from the pile of glossy leaflets making itself at home at the bottom of our stairs! It was good humoured, though not bland, and I left thinking that if my vote amounted to nothing, the other likely winner(s) seemed like they genuinely cared about our city, so that was reassuring.
But as local issues came up and we heard one-minute from each of the 7 candidates on a given question I found my spirits sinking. The issues we face are so huge; structural deficit in an economy defined only by certain kinds of economic growth, a terrifyingly uncertain world to name just a couple. At a local level our City Council face impossible challenges with little or no room to find radical or creative solutions without legislative change or unaffordable battles in the courts. (We were told that they can’t even do much to ensure the bus routes give adequate coverage!)
One week after we get to vote, many Christians will be marking Ascension Day. It reminds us that Jesus Christ is not just alive but the exalted LORD of all. Here at Portswood in our Sunday services we’re looking into what that means for us as people connected to him. If that’s true, and we are then it means that the vote I make can be done out of loyalty to Christ, looking for the party/person that seems to me to best embody the Kingdom I pray will come when we say the LORD’s prayer. It also means that because Jesus is LORD of everything then as his people we can show up and get involved knowing he’s with us and can work through us as we pray to the One whose Kingdom, power and glory is for ever and ever – and not just the next five years - Amen.