Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 9th June 2024

Dear Friends, Not often quoted in our Meeting is A&Q No 34: Remember your responsibilities as a citizen for the conduct of local, national, and international affairs. Do not shrink Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 9th June 2024

Dear Friends,

Not often quoted in our Meeting is A&Q No 34:

Remember your responsibilities as a citizen for the conduct of local, national, and international affairs. Do not shrink from the time and effort your involvement may demand.

Politics is about policies, and the people responsible for public relations within any one party naturally want to acquire a winning number of votes, so a charismatic leader helps the cause. This aspect of the political debate is important and inevitable, but it is by no means the most important. Appropriate and efficient policies are crucial to the wellbeing of people in our country and people in other parts of the world, so the integrity of those promoting policies is vital. Other qualities are also necessary, such as the ability to pick a good team to make and administer decisions together. This applies to ordinary MPs as well as to those in government, as they all have their constituency agents and other team members.

Ministers, whether religious or political, are people who perform a service. Sometimes we tend to forget that although power comes with certain roles there is the basic need for service. Whether an ordinary MP or a government minister, there is a considerable element of service required: the need for competent knowledge on a range of subjects involving much reading and listening; long hours; constituency demands; media demands; seeing less of loved ones at home and the impact on them; threats to life; the public’s thirst for gossip, etc.

At times, we in the electorate look with despair on what happens. Yet we have a duty to uphold those people who hold great responsibility. I remember in my South African days, when apartheid (pronounced apart-ate) was dominant, some Anglicans were quite concerned about their church’s liturgical prayers for those in power, it being a Christian tradition going back to the New Testament to pray for leaders:

First of all then I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for sovereigns and for all in high office so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life, free to practise our religion with dignity. Such prayer is right and approved by God … (First letter of Timothy Chapter 2, vv 1-3a).

So, if we pray for, or hold in the Light, our political leaders – or anyone else – whether we agree with them or not, what are we hoping for? In my youthful, South African days I think I just wanted the wellbeing of those around me – and especially the African majority – to improve with the help of more enlightened policies. Then I was prepared to leave it in God’s hands. These days, I suppose holding anyone in power in the Divine Light is much the same. We don’t usually know Mr or Ms So-and-So MP but we can hold them and the issues we care about in the Divine Light of Love, with all its manifold attributes of wisdom, patience, etc. May those who are currently standing for Parliament do so in the Spirit of service and maybe remember King Solomon who prayed to be a good listener!

Caroline

on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)