Posted by Natalie Collins on 3 May 2017

In a little more than a month’s time, the UK will be voting. As Christians do we see our vote as having value? Will the church show up?

Some of us see faith and politics very much at odds. We prioritise personal salvation over national policy, and stress that Jesus worked with individuals rather than involve himself in politics. Even when He had a chance to speak with Pilate or Herod, He chose not to.

Others see things differently. We believe that the most effective way to follow Jesus’ instructions to care for the most vulnerable is to work for political decisions which will benefit the least powerful.

Both those perspectives can be heard loud and clear in our worship songs. Almost all modern songs touch on the theme of our personal relationship with Jesus, but many also call for transformation in the nation. We sing about wanting to be history makers, ask if a nation can be changed and call those around us to walk the land and let every step be a prayer.

Yet while we might sing about making these big changes, in the Christian community we’re not well known for our political engagement. And if our songs fire us up spiritually but don’t lead us to engage with the processes which will practically cause our nation to be changed, is something ringing a bit hollow?

The poorest in our communities are suffering, and churches are running food banks, debt advice services and holiday lunch clubs to feed hungry children. We’re tending to the symptoms of social divide. Yet, if we don’t engage with the causes of those problems - involving ourselves in the political decisions which leave families unable to afford food or requiring loans to survive, then how can we believe that we are effecting lasting change?

Jesus told the parable of the talents, and said that we will be held accountable for how we use what we have been given. In a democracy we are given a free choice to influence how our country is run, and we will be held to account for what we do.

Will we bury our ballot paper by not registering to vote? Will we squander our resource by not making time to vote, either by post or in person? Will we make an uninformed decision of who to vote for? Or will we vote according to whichever party will benefit us personally?

What if we recognised that as Christians we are not only called to use the “talents” wisely, but also to ensure that we prioritise the needs of the most disadvantaged amongst us?

Voting may not be as feel as inspiring or as significant as sung worship, but have no doubt, as we place a cross in one of those boxes we are actively seeking transformation in our nation. If we let that transformation benefit those who are living in poverty, those who are subjected to violence, those fleeing war in their own country, those who are sick or disabled, we will be using democracy wisely, in accordance with how Jesus taught us to live and worshipping God with our whole lives, not only the songs we sing.

https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Natalie Collins
@God_loves_women
www.nataliecollins.info

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