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Faith: Can prayer and politics be an election combo?

The writ has dropped and election fever has been raising political temperatures for some time. Designated lobbying groups have been busy on the internet and phones for a few months.
Faith: Can prayer and politics be an election combo?_0

The writ has dropped and election fever has been raising political temperatures for some time.

Designated lobbying groups have been busy on the internet and phones for a few months.

A few of them have already published voters’ guide to candidates who would maintain and advance their particular causes.

But in the upcoming weeks, a point of contact of enormous and eternal significance with the electorate would be missing in election publicity affairs and glad handling — that of reliance on divine intervention.

If the word of God is to be believed, that “the authorities that exist have been established by God,” then it makes sense that the highest authority, namely God almighty, be made at least a consultant and perhaps even an appellant on behalf of the aspirants to Parliament Hill.

Honestly, I have had my candidate and party picked since even before the writ was dropped. Now, as a campaign observer, I wait on tiptoes to expedite that person’s victory, releasing my daily prayers in the process.

The Bible urges us to pray for national leaders before they arrive on Parliament Hill and take their seats. It urges us to invoke blessing upon their steps preparatory to the climb.

Notwithstanding scandals and controversies or fighting among parties on both sides of the pipeline or vaccination issues, other national spectacles, small or big, have been greatly besmirching and simply annoying.

Therefore, in the next few weeks, a bit more soul searching, before casting our ballots, might be helpful in order to check a candidate’s moral, ethical and spiritual stances.

Can Canada raise a sleeping moral majority that is waiting to be set loose? I believe it can and should. Is it time to restore spiritual values in public life?

Doing our own things and the resultant spiral of vicious degenerative cycles of brokenness in society emanate from the society’s failure to understand man’s need of God.

The right of religious people of all faiths to influence Canada’s public and political process can still slow down, if not prevent, erosion of godly ethics so essential to democracy.

Seeking God’s kingdom and his righteousness was a slogan of Jesus in his ministry on Earth.

When he spoke of the kingdom of God, Jesus was not only referring to the general sovereignty of God over nature and history, but also to that specific rule over his own people, which he himself had inaugurated and which begins in anybody’s life when he humbles himself.

It is not clear why Jesus distinguished between his kingdom and righteousness as twin, but separate, objects of priority in our godly quest.

God’s rule is a righteous rule. Therefore, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be willing to be persecuted for it and to exhibit a righteousness greater than that of the phony law-keepers, namely the Pharisees.

The difference between the two lies in the fact that God’s kingdom exists where he is consciously acknowledged. To be in his kingdom is synonymous with enjoying his salvation.

But God’s righteousness is a wider concept than God’s kingdom. It includes individual and societal righteousness, as well.

Because God is righteous, he desires righteousness in every human community, not just in the Christian community.

For some years in recent past, Christians have been looking to politics and politicians to save Canada.

We thought that the right prime minister, the right parliament and the right Supreme Court judges would ensure that religious rights would be respected.

We saw ourselves as heirs to the Christian political tradition that fought for women’s right to vote, an end human trafficking and all-round welfare for all.

Is it time to take stock of both national politics and our spirituality, to reflect and chew the thought whether our political convictions have produced the desired results?

Things are hardly better. Social statistics are largely unchanged. Divorces are growing. More children are growing up in single parent homes or in foster care.

More and more Canadians are living in intractable poverty. Educational achievement is hardly soaring.

People of goodwill in all faith traditions can disagree about income splitting, health-care policies or the war of words to solve the Afghanistan and Middle East problems. These disagreements prevent relationships and fellowship of hearts.

The time is now to develop greater intimacy with God and follow a way to be humble in God’s sight, starting with our politicians and national leaders.

Perhaps we would be a better electorate if we eschew red hot politics in order to focus more on practising compassion.

We need to spend more time studying the Sermon on the Mount and less time scrutinizing party platforms.

And, along with that, let us keep our eyes and hearts open in preparation to choose men and women “who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom …” (Acts 6:3) — the real servants of people who elected them.

“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4, ESV, in the New Testament).

Narayan Mitra is a volunteer chaplain at Thompson Rivers University. His email address is ryanmitra225@gmail.com.

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