Message from Bishop Robert, 9 July 2024

Published: Tuesday July 9, 2024

Bishop RobertAfter all the excitement of the election is over; the results have been declared; we have thanked all who have enabled our participation in the democratic process, especially those who have stood as candidates; we have commiserated with those who have lost seats, for even if we hold different opinions they are the ones who have given of themselves and have served; and we have congratulated those elected and we have a new government.

Now the ballot boxes have been put away and it will be some four or five years before the next general election, and we must do it all again. We have cast our votes, and our job is done. Or is it? 

We have marked our ballot paper and, whether the candidate we voted for won the seat or not, it is still our government. They are setting the direction, making policy and law for the next five years, raising tax and spending it, setting the priorities and the culture of our national life with the decisions they make. It is our government acting in our name and as such we still have our part to play. We might ask how? 

First Timothy, 2:2 reminds us that as Christians we are to pray for those in authority. Those who have been willing to stand up and be counted. They most certainly need our prayers, not least that they may govern wisely and with a thirst for the common good. In praying for them we will also come to see that we share in a common humanity. Our new Prime Minister is also a husband and a father, and I for one was encouraged in his determination to ensure that there was time in his week for his family – that key commitment that we share to sabbath that will keep him grounded. Essential if he is to lead well. 

Beyond that, we are called to continue our part in sharing our hopes for our nation and its part in our world. Each day we pray in Jesuswords ‘your kingdom come’ and for what do we pray? We pray for the kingdom Jesus come to proclaim, and to look for it here on earth as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet that we proclaim each time we celebrate the Eucharist, marked by justice, mercy and a place for all.  A place in which the poor, the prisoner, the outcast are cared for, a place marked by the love of the cross and the hope of the resurrection with its promise of life for all. 

A new government, but still our government. We are called to both to pray for those who form it and then contribute our voice as it shapes the way in which we shall live and play our part in this world – a world increasingly divided, our world in which Jesus prays that we may be one, as Jesus is one with the Father, with the God and Father of us all. 

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