The latest monthly letter from our Minister, Revd David Hookins.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We are rightly proud of our democratic processes, the people should have a say in how they are governed and by whom, but as those who also study the Bible we need to be wary. In the Bible when the people are given responsibility they
frequently get it wrong!
Moses comes down the mountain after what must have been quite a stressful conversation with God and carrying God’s law, he finds that the people have elected to ignore the living God and decided to worship a golden calf, the product of their own wealth and the work of their own hands (Exodus 32.1).
Earlier they decided to follow Moses into freedom from Egypt, but then complain about the sparse rations of the desert, longing for the salads of slavery in Egypt (Numbers 11.5).
The vote of the people on the first Good Friday was for the criminal Barabbas and not for Jesus, the one who revealed God’s passionate love to all people (Matthew 27.20-21; Mark 15.11; Luke 23.18; John 18.40).
This does not mean that democracy is wrong but that it needs to be tempered by listening for the word of God. So in a church setting we may listen with particular care to Sam because we have seen that she, or he, helps us all to discern the will of God. Our aim is to follow God’s will and not our own, as we declare in one version of the Covenant Service, ‘Your will, not mine, be done in all things’. More significantly both of the prayers leading up to the Covenant prayer call us to ‘seek and do your perfect will’. There is a call to seek, to discern and to act. As
Methodists we discern the will of God together, and our church structures encourage respectful debate and testing to discover God’s will.
So what of the General Election? In a world in which politicians increasingly mask their agendas behind the will of the people, where leaders become popular by saying what they like, whether it is true or not; we need to be people of discernment. People able to see beyond the party rhetoric to the reality of people’s lives.
We should pray for our politicians and engage with the election process as we seek to discern what we believe to be the will of God for our world and our country.
Your brother in Christ,