Voting for someone to turn the world upside down!

Dear Friends,

Voting for someone to turn the world upside down!

Luke 19: 42-48

The one person who could make a positive difference in the world would get very few votes at a local, or general, election. I wonder whether he would even be nominated as an Elder in the Church!

My candidate on Thursday is too much of a radical for our communities and the most committed of christians would be reluctant to give him a cross in a box.

His political manifesto would, I am sure, include reducing salaries and increasing taxes so that more could be invested in helping the poor. The rich would be expected to sacrifice everything they have so the poor would be guaranteed food on the table and a roof over their head. His manifesto would be rooted in the gospel we proclaim and he would have my vote, but how many others would want him elected as a councillor or MP for their community? He would turn the political agenda upside down by knocking down the empires people create and campaigning for the coming of a kingdom where justice is truly done. He would turn the tables on corruption and exploitation in the market place. He would restore honesty to the agenda and people would trust that he would do what he said, but they wouldnt like it enough to vote for him!

As we prepare for the polls on Thursday I remembered the words of a hymn (Rejoice and Sing 178): Who would think that what was needed to transform and save the earth might not be a plan or army, proud in purpose, proved in worth? Who would think, despite derision, that a child should lead the way? God surprises earth with heaven, coming here on Christmas Day.

Years of human knowledge have shaped the earth on which we live and the politics that dictate how we do it, yet, as the hymn concludes with a final verse: Centuries of skill and science span the past from which we move, yet experience questions whether with such progress we improve. In our search for sense and meaning, lest our hopes and humour fray, God surprises earth with heaven, coming here on Christmas Day.

We are told that church should not interfere with politics — that religion and politics dont go together. Our faith is the Bread of Life and provides the strength, wisdom and inspiration for everything we do. It believes in the Light for the World who will lead us out of darkness and that we can be that light if we dont hide our faith. We are like the sheep that know the Shepherds voice so follow through the gate to greener pastures. Faith and politics go together like bread and butter; light and dark, sheep and shepherds or the proverbial horse and carriage. We have been trying to put bread on our butter and expect the shepherd to follow the sheep and the horse cant push the carriage! I didnt forget light in the darkness, but we all know what happens when the blind lead the blind!

Our faith is our attitude to life so we can not separate it from politics, but, lets be honest, many of us in church cant even pick up our pencil and put a cross in a box so how likely are we to pick up our cross and follow a political manifesto that demands we sacrifice the life that we know?

I havent seen Jesus on the list of candidates, but the good news is that you can vote with your heart and give him full power and authority in your life — and turn the world upside down. That is the cue for remembering a verse from another hymn: The world wants the wealth to live in state, but you show a new way to be great: like a servant you came, and if we do the same, well be turning the world upside down. (Rejoice and Sing 90). Umm!” we might think, “that could involve turning the Church upside down and will we vote for someone who might do that?”

Include in your prayers this week the candidates in the elections on Thursday and that our votes will make a difference and that the difference will bring a sense of justice and hope for people in our communities.

The next Church Meeting will be on by Zoom on Thursday May 20th and in June we hope it will be an in person meeting on June 24th when the Covid guidelines should permit groups to meet indoors again. I dont think there is anything so radical on the agenda that we will be turning the church upside down!

Victor Caddy wrote to thank everyone for their support at the celebration of his mothers life on Wednesday. He wrote: “It was a strange day for me and you made it so much easier for me. A family bereavement is difficult enough at the best of times, of course, but all the more so with Covid restrictions, and a lack of family. Added to all this, with my Mums long drawn out final chapterin semi isolation in Evesham, I was particularly worried about whole thing. It was great to see her so welcomed back into her church, and also to see the familiar faces who meant so much to her when she was able to be an active member of the congregation. Thank you to you, and to her friends. I understand that one person who dearly wanted to be present went to the Crematorium by accident. I should just like to say that she was missed, but she should know that her wish to participate did not go unnoticed – thank you, especially, to her. And thank you also to all those who contributed to her chosen charity – we collected £110 for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.”

Please continue to pray for Dominique as she supports a woman whose husband took his own life and for the family to find the strength to cope.

The Christian Aid service on Sunday will be led by the Church and Society Group and, as usual, please let me know if you wish to attend. If you were in Church yesterday it is assumed you will be attending unless you tell me otherwise.

Christian Aid Week runs from May 10th to Sunday 16th this year so Sunday begins a week of activities up and down the country, including raising funds for urgent needs around the world. If anyone feels happy dropping off some ‘delivery-only’ envelopes during the Week please let Ann know asap.

To further dress the front of the Church for CA Week would those bringing pots of flowers or arrangements please deliver them on Sunday am,10th and collect the following Sunday morning. (16th).

The Church in Society group is looking at how it can support the pandemic crisis in India through the Prince Charles ” British Asian Trust ” and “Oxygen for Indiaappeals. If anyone wants to give to the emergency fund, which is run by Church in Society Group with payments paid from Church Emergency Fund then you can give by one of two methods:

1. Payment through BACS – please contact us for details.

2. Cheque with Emergency Fund written on the back.

Continue to pray for: Gerard – who has been courageously fighting cancer for 3 years but it has now spread to his brain and he has a big operation tomorrow .

Also for Naomi Pam Susan Michael Frank and Christine Victor Kathy Hancock Tom and Janet Vicky Margaret

A PANDEMIC PRAYER

Loving Lord Jesus,

You told the disciples not to be afraid on the first Easter Sunday.

Help us not to be afraid as the restrictions are eased

but to trust in Your strength.

Give us the strength we need to move towards the uncertainty of a new normal.

Enable us to speak of you to those in distress and those who are afraid.

Fill us with The Holy Spirit and empower us to live our lives for You.

Amen

John Collings, Lay Preacher, Rutherglen URC

God Bless, Richard