Saturday, 7 September 2013

When the election is over

The federal election is finally upon us. Whatever the result I like to remember a couple of key things that I think are essential to the Christian life under any government. 

We are united in Christ alone.

It's easy to let political opinions divide us. The policies of the day change the shape of our society. They change what's legal and they change how money flows. We don't all agree on those changes and we need to be aware of how disagreements can create an us-them situation, even in the church.

In Christ we cannot allow Christ to be divided. That doesn't mean a monolithic view on politics by any means. We aren't united by politics, we're united by Christ. We aren't united by tax breaks, road infrastructure, or immigration policy. If we believe that then we've created an idol out of those things. Our unity is in Christ alone.

The church doesn't have a political strategy, the church is a political strategy.

This comes from Stanley Hauerwas and is a master stroke of articulating something important about the church. God has been revealed in Jesus with a message for the world; the kingdom of God is here and we are invited to be part of that. 

The kingdom of God is the rule of God in this world and we have a portrait of it in the Sermon on the Mount. It's a vision of fairness and justice and love. This is the foundation of the kingdom and of the church. Living that way probably doesn't align perfectly with any political party in this election, so we can't place our hope in any government to deliver on that vision. Our reliance must be on Christ to give us strength to obey Jesus' teachings. By teaching us Jesus expects us to follow through with it as single individuals and as the church in community. Jesus relies on us to be the living embodiment of this solution; to be the divine and loving change that the world needs. 

So I hope you have fun voting today. Enjoy the sausage sizzles and cake stalls. Enjoy the banter between booth volunteers. Enjoy the spectacle for as long as you like but remember that as Christians we are united by Christ in order to be the community-as-solution to the brokenness of this world.
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