I have no idea which way tomorrow's General Election will go. But our parish magazine, The Well, comes out this week or next, and I have a letter in there about the Election. Here it is:
I was planning to write some more about the epoch-making events 500 years ago known as “The Reformation”. That can wait: We’ve had a General Election, and possibly the outcome is known by the time you read this.
I’m not going to bore you with my personal views on the policies of the different parties: We’ve all had enough people try to persuade us, and I’d only alienate half of you if I joined the pundits.
Instead, I want to think about what happens when we have an election. Some people in power get to continue; others have to finish. Sometimes there’s a change in the ruling party, other times not.
It’s a reminder that both good and bad governments alike do not last forever. That’s a warning not to pin hopes on a good government that they can never be expected to deliver. To expect any government to rescue us from all our problems is most unrealistic; only God can deliver that.
It’s also a comfort for those suffering under oppressive and bad governments. Debates about the merits of our different political parties are dwarfed by the cruel and selfish governments endured by the citizens of some countries. Bad governments also will not last forever, even if we may not live to see their end.
In Daniel 2 in the Bible, the king of the regional superpower of the day (Babylon) has a dream. He sees a statue with a gold head, silver torso, bronze belly, iron legs and alloyed feet. The golden head represents his empire, the other materials represent those that would come after (Media, Persia, Greece, and Rome). He then sees a rock, “not cut with human hands”, strike the foot of the statue, and the whole thing is smashed. The rock, however, grows to become a mountain that fills the whole earth.
God is showing the king that his empire will end, as will those that come after. Kingdoms rise, and kingdoms fall. The rock that grows represents the kingdom of Jesus Christ, who is called “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. All earthly empires, good and bad, will one day pass, leaving only the global kingdom of Jesus Christ. His is the one citizenship that really counts.
We sometimes sing the hymn “The Day Thou Gavest Lord has Ended”. The final verse is this:
“So be it, Lord,
thy throne shall never,
like earth’s proud empires pass away:
But stand, and rule, and grow forever,
till all thy creatures own thy sway.”
With every blessing. Your friend and vicar,