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Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector writes,

A General Election nears. They say two things not to talk about in public are religion and politics! It’s a ridiculous saying. They are two of the most important subjects to talk about and debate!

I have some great memories of my final year in Cardiff University as a 22 year-old maths student. I lived in a house of four lads, and two of them – like me – were committed Christians – but unlike me – both were very active members of their respective political parties. One of them, a journalism student, socialist and avid supporter of the Labour Party (who now writes for the Surrey Comet), near worshipped the ground that Tony Benn walked. The other, a history and politics student, (now a business studies teacher), had an A1 poster of Ian Duncan Smith on his wall and founded the Cardiff University “Save the Pound Society”. I, and my other housemate, would sit in the evenings, heads to and fro, watching the tennis match, listening to them argue intently, “God is a Socialist…”, “No, God is a Tory”. Great fun!

As Christians, whilst agreed on the Lordship of Christ, how we apply our faith – especially in terms of politics – varies considerably. The most important decision as Christians we have to make on 7 May, is not which party we will vote for – but rather it is making the decision to vote.

The Government always gets criticised heavily in the press and by society for some of the decisions it makes. Personally too, I struggle if decisions taken in Westminster, contradict my own personal worldview or understanding of what I believe or interpret the Christian faith to teach as the best way to live. I can easily become apathetic about the political system. Yet both history and probability imply it is impossible for a party to exist that any of us will completely agree with. Surely, better for us then to celebrate our freedom to vote, look for the common good, decide on which party we think is loving our neighbour best and then cast our vote. History and probability surely imply too that if more of us do this then the better fairer government we will have!

“Brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Paul in Philippians 4:8 NIV).

In deciding how to vote, we might ask too what do the parties say on the issues that are closest to us as Christians? Personally, I look for a party that I believes promotes a strong morality – close to biblical teaching – one that I believe promotes what is closest to “true, noble and pure”, because I believe this to be the way to a life of “true freedom” (Galatians 5) and “true fulfilment” (John 10). As well as considering the big prevalent questions such as the economy, the NHS and education, I think it’s important to ask too what do we understand the Bible and our Christian faith to say (for example) on marriage and family life, social ethics, justice, equality or freedom of speech? Then to ask, what do the political parties say on these issues?

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (Paul to Timothy, in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 NIV).

As important as voting, as Christians we are called to pray too.
We can pray for our local constituency of Alyn & Deeside, for our local candidates, the political parties and their leaders. We can pray that the policies and promises the political parties and candidates make will be honest, realistic and beneficial to society, and not just idealistic or favourable in order to win votes.
We can also pray for accurate and unbiased reporting by the media.

We can pray after the election too. There will be a new cabinet to decide on, perhaps a new coalition government or prime minister. Also we can pray for the candidates to find rest and time for themselves and their families following their endless campaigning, for some to adjust to new ways of living, having happily gained or sadly lost a seat. Above all else, we can simply pray those words that Jesus taught, “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.

Heavenly Father, we commit to You, our candidates for Alyn & Deeside and every candidate standing for election, as well as their families and their supporters. On May 7th, let Your will be done. May Your grace and mercy be upon the United Kingdom. In Jesus Name. Amen.

In Christ, Adam

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