Some say you should not mix politics and religion. Yet Jesus was a political prisoner - executed for no other crime than upsetting the authorities and their wealth and power base. The following appears in Matthew, Mark and Luke:
The religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus because they realised he was against them but they were afraid of the crowd, so they left him and went away. Later the leaders sent some Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested.
“Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You are impartial and don’t play favorites. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them, or shouldn’t we?”
Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said, “Why are you trying to trap me? Show me a Roman coin,and I’ll tell you.” When they handed it to him, he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
“Well, then,” Jesus said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”
His reply completely amazed them.
Some parts of our society needs to hear these words and hear them loudly.
Growing up in a welsh valley mining village gives you a particularly red colour to your political views. In fact the local MP held the largest majority in the country at the time. My parents were solid labour voters but the family also had some tories from the farming side of the family and at family get togethers there was always a good and very lively political debate.
I remember as a teenage in the 70s one of the profound debates that took place in our family and in the community was whether we should be in the Common Market as it was known then - European Union (even the name change is interesting) as it is known now. There was essentially two opposing views, those advocating yes because of the economic advantages and those advocating no because it took decision making even further away from the people. If you already have a view that decisions are already taken a very long away in London then Brussels is even further away. One of the things you certainly feel in a welsh mining village is distance from the decision making process. Taking it further away was a real issue.
This time around the quality of the debate has been poor and it has been characterised by fear. This deeply worries me. In John’s first letter it says
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
I have not heard one positive reason for leaving or staying in the EU! All i have heard is dire consequences if we stay in or dire consequences if we stay out. This profoundly worries me - have we lost the art of real political debate?
I am not going to tell you how to vote but all i ask is you vote positively Yes or No because you are voting for something not against something.
During May we have our annual 10 ten days of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost - the programme is yet to be finalised this year as it is part of a national campaign “Thy Kingdom Come”
“Jesus Christ calls every person to follow him. As Christians it’s our duty and joy to share that invitation. That’s why the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are inviting every church in England to join a week of prayer this Pentecost, from 8-15th May — let’s pray for every Christian to receive new confidence and joy in sharing this life-transforming faith.”
Wadworth Gala (5th June) approaches fast and this year it is to be a celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday. If you remember i asked for old photos of Wadworth to tell the story of Wadworth over the last 90 years. The response has been very poor so can I urge everyone to have look - lets paint an historical picture of Wadworth for the Queen. The Gala will start with a church service at 10am and why don't you come dressed from one of the decades during the Queen’s life.
If I can find them i will be wearing my platform shoes from the 70’s. You have been warned.