By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.[Jesus, John 13:35]
I`ve spent a lot of time lately talking about Jesus and how following Him fits within the political spectrum, or more to the point, how it doesn`t. It`s a difficult question and the answers are difficult to articulate. Many people feel that the all encompassing message of Jesus necessarily incorporates politics but I maintain that all forms of politics and government are human inventions that serve to separate us from God, not bring us closer. God`s Kingdom is not of this world and any attempt to manipulate it through earthly means is quite simply sin.
The children of Israel where warned of this when they rejected Samuel’s sons as judges and demanded a king over them. God’s warning was clear, a king would not provide the security they were looking for, or be a just judge; rather, he would oppress the people and ultimately create a barrier between them and God.
Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”[1 Samuel 8:10-18]
And that’s what a political system does. It creates walls, both physical and metaphorical, between people and God and most obviously amongst the people themselves.
Politics is divisive. It has created hierarchy through concentration and manipulation of power and perpetuated the myth that some people are worth more than others. It has created an elite class to rule over the lesser citizens and has drawn lines between peoples. Politics is more concerned with keeping certain groups out than allowing anyone who looks different or thinks differently in. God’s design, evident in the Garden of Eden was for man to commune directly with Him, each other and with nature but we continually reject God and have created a political system that is indicative of our fallen world.
In order to commune directly with the almighty there cannot be any division among us. Over and over again we find in scripture plain instructions on what to do to get closer to God. These instructions have one fundamental thing in common. Screw the Politics, get together and do something meaningful.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. [Jesus, Matthew 18:20]
And what are we told is meaningful? Follow the Abrahamic law? Draw borders on a map? Live in communities of exclusion, elitism and hierarchy?
No – We are plainly told that a meaningful life is a life of love and service to others. A life with no political division or hierarchy where Christ is the centre and our only mission is to love and serve one another.
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. [The Apostle Paul, Colossians 3:11-14]
I sincerely believe that God is grieved by our many divisions. The first step to unity is to recognize that this is not the way it’s supposed to be. All people are made in the image and likeness of God. All people deserve love and compassion. All means all.
This has nothing to do with politics. The sooner we recognize that the sooner we can get on with it and really start loving our neighbours as ourselves.
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”[Matthew 22:35-40]
All We Need is Love – John Lennon, Paul McCartney