Dear Glen Morris United Church,
Peace be with you! I hope that you have managed to enjoy the pockets of sunshine in this week’s weather and that you and your loved ones are doing well.
Having noticed several lawn signs on display for the upcoming provincial election on June 2, this week - I thought it might be helpful to address the taboo subject of religion and politics. As Christians, I’m sure that many of you are aware of the tension that surrounds discussing religion in many spaces these days. Once I started my path towards ministry, I realized that every dinner party from then on was probably going to have that awkward moment where people realize my job and freeze a little.
We are told that religion and politics are topics that not only are best to avoid in social situations, but that the two of them should not be combined. And yet, some of the most controversial decisions Jesus made in his ministry with political implications were about who he ate with and when and how he decided to heal others.
Our faith calls us to care deeply for creation, to care for the poor, sick, and isolated, and spread hope and joy. To be disciples is to follow Christ into unexpected relationships, to build nurturing communities, to concern ourselves not only about heaven but about the inbreaking of God’s Kingdom on Earth, here and now. Try as we might, we are bound to encounter the reality that who we care for and how we treat one another is connected to politics. This brings to mind the words of theologian Karl Barth who said: “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.”
While I don’t believe it is my responsibility to speak about politics in a partisan way - I do feel it is important to talk about the ways our faith and politics do connect. How might we imagine our daily engagement in local and global politics as a form of prayer? As campaigns start for the upcoming election, what would it mean to discern spiritually how we might vote?
As you seek to find ways to connect faith and politics, may the Peace of Christ provide you with the grace and patience when conversations feel awkward or tough,
As you read, watch, or listen to the news, may you hear the Peace of Christ amidst the heartache and disaster, may you hear the Good News of those offering care and hope to the world,
May the Peace of Christ be with you,
Yours in Christ,