This Thursday the country goes to the polls once again, click here for information from the Northern Ireland Electoral Commission. With the number of elections in the last few years it is easy to wonder about the importance of yet another election, especially when Stormont hasn’t been sitting for such a long time. Yet every election is important becuase it is only at elections that we have the opportunity to have our say and bring about change.

It is not the role of the church to campaign for any political party and this blog should not be interpreted as giving support to any party over another. It is the role of the church however to speak biblically into every part of life, including political life and political promises. Moderator letter – Election December 2019

At this election the subject of BREXIT has dominated. At the heart of this debate two issues have been central. Immigration and borders. When casting votes based on BREXIT the bible does not tell us whether we should be in the EU or out of the EU. It does however give some direct instructions on the subjects of immigration and borders.

Jesus himself taught us

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

God would have us remember that we were once alienated from him but through his grace we have now been reconciled and it is this principle of unwarranted grace we are to apply to our dealings with immigrants.

The subject of borders has long dominated Northern Irish political life and continues to do so today, albeit in a slightly different context. While each of us more arrive at our own decision on this issue and that decision should be respected by all, the bible is clear that our first allegiance is to Christ and not to a border or a nationality.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

When we answer the question of orange and green or borders in the Irish sea our first allegiance should be to Christ and what serves his kingdom.

It is hard to talk about elections without mentioning the proposed change to laws around abortion and same sex marriage. For some of us this will be the defining issues on which we vote. The bible is clear on both these issues. Life begins at conception. God made this clear when he called the Prophet Jeremiah.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 

The bible is equally clear on the subject of Same Sex Marriage and I don’t intend to go over well rehearsed arguments. What I do want to say is that if we cast a vote on either of these issues that we still have a responsibility to love our neighbour. We cannot allow discrimination of any kind, we must extend a welcome to all into our churches becuase we to were once alienated from God.

If we are to have the government we desire then this election should be about more than just casting a vote on Thursday, it should be about prayerful consideration of where that vote should go. Voting is a privilege and we should rejoice in the opportunity to vote, but regardless of who wins this election we should also remember to pray for all are elected representatives becuase they job they will have is not an easy one.

 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour 1 Timothy 2:1-3