At Christians in Politics, we are an organisation that lives in the interface between Christianity and politics, and so an election being called just before Christmas has been both thrilling and stressful. One of the joys has been reflecting on the intersection of the two, particularly through the Biblical readings of Advent. In particular we have been reflecting on Isaiah 11.
The passage is a prophecy about Jesus but I think it gives us who are a part of the Just Love family an interesting reflection on Christ. In particular verses 3-10 give a beautiful image of God’s justice in our world:
“3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7The cow will feed the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put his hand into the viper’s nest. 9They will neither harm nor destroy on my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.”
When I read this passage in the context of our general election I am tempted to feel overwhelmed. This election period has been defined by people being unable to tolerate those different from themselves, the very idea of the wolf living with lamb in the UK context seems so unlikely. All the while, the most vulnerable are being left further and further behind, whether in the rise of poverty across the country, or those left devastated by the floods in Yorkshire who still haven’t received the support they desperately need. Needless to say this is not a vision of the wolf living with the lamb.
It is so easy in our current climate to lose hope and see only the destruction and divisiveness of politics. However, I think we need to view this passage not just based in the moment we are in, but also through the lens of the way it was written, as prophecy. This passage is not simply a picture of a perfect future founded in Christ, but it is a calling to be a part of making that future. And I have been blessed to see Christians across the political spectrum taking up this call.
Just in the last couple weeks my own church has been part of a local initiatives bringing together different communities across our borough to share what we love about our community and the challenges we face. This culminated in different churches, mosques, temples, sports groups and more coming together to discuss all of their various findings with the local government to come up with strategies to tackle our issues. It was beautiful to see my church at the heart of bringing together communities often portrayed to be different and separate in order to bring about justice for the most vulnerable through political engagement.
At Christians in Politics we want to see Christians across the country, not only engaging positively from the outside, but stepping up across the country, entering local and parliamentary politics to transform our country and bring about Biblically inspired and Christ centred politics.
We in particular have a passion to support this new young generation of young people entering politics after (and in many cases) during university.
With that in mind we created the Young Christians in Politics (YCIP) network, a space for young people in or interested in politics to support one another in their careers and to share their respective ideas about how to transform our country for Christ. If you are interested in joining our YCIP community you can sign up here http://bit.ly/YCIP-sign-up or contact myself at [email protected]
As part of that network we are running an event on the 28th of January specifically for students interested in going into a career in politics after university. We have invited a few Christian MPs to come and share their experiences of being Christians at the highest level of politics. Also participating are various different programmes that provide internships for university graduates working in a variety of roles in politics including being parliamentary assistants for MPs and Lords. If you are interested in the event you can find the event here https://nextstep2020.eventbrite.co.uk.
Alasdair Howorth is a recent graduate from the University of St Andrews. He now works as a community organiser in North London and as an intern at Christians in Politics. He is passionate about all things football, rugby and reminiscing about more beautiful places in Scotland and Kenya (where he grew up).