There’s lots of talk about how important today’s General Election vote is, and there is just as much talk about how unenthusiastic people are about making such this important choice. It is not an enviable situation.
When I’m asked my own political stance, I always answer Christian. The truth is that the old divides of left and right, left over from the French Revolution, have long been useless. The other reality is that there is much to aspire to in all political manifestos and much to doubt, and they are full of a lot of aspirational fantasy.
What is clear, is that our country is desperately in need to two things: hope and community.
The first leads to the second, and the second sustains the first.
We are probably in the midst of a revolution (not unlike the Industrial Revolution) thanks to the power of IT, AI, and Social Media. It’s hard to tell the severity of a storm from the storm from its eye, and there’s always the danger of catastrophising the situation in which we live: every age tends to think its the last, and it’s all too easy to say with nostalgia that things used to be so much simpler and life was much easier.
The Christian Church has been through far worse; indeed, it emerged from far worse, and it will probably endure far worse. The hope that shapes the Advent Church – the hope of a transfigured world – is the Second Coming. As we approach Christmas, we are reminded that it’s breaking in, but far from here. I love T.S.Eliot’s Gerontion in Advent: ‘Signs are taken for wonders. “We would see a sign”: The word within a word, unable to speak a word, Swaddled with darkness. In the juvescence of the year Came Christ the tiger’
Of course the signs are all around us, and to be Christian is simply to be open to ‘Christ the Tiger’. We are to be open to him in the weakest and most vulnerable, the voice unheard and the people unloved. In this is both hope AND community. As Jean Vanier writes in ‘We need one another’, a series of addresses given in Kenya shortly after violence ripped through the nation: ‘“I need you” is the heart of the church….Community is about building a body, and we all need one another.’
In a fragmenting, atomistic world of rapid revolution, we are quite simply called to take our hope and to make friends in hope. It’s not easy, but it is simple. Vanier again gives us a steer: ‘‘we must be wise, and we must be united in weakness – our own, and that of our brothers and sisters.’
As I vote, I’m going to bear in mind community, and hope, and remember my weakness and the weakness of others, whilst praying for ‘Christ the Tiger.’