Words for our elected leaders, and words for the rest of us

What follows is a “Faith Matters” column I wrote for the Flamborough Review.


Because of necessary submission deadlines, I am writing this column a few days before the federal election.  So, reading this you know who is the Member of Parliament for our riding.  You know who is the Prime Minister.  You know if the government is enjoying a majority of seats in Parliament, or if they are working within a minority situation.  But right now, I do not.

Even though I am at a temporal disadvantage, as one of the pastors serving in our community, I can pass on words of advice to we who are governed, and also to those now given the authority to rule.

The Bible (Romans 13:1-7) says that those who have been given the mandate and power of government have ultimately received that authority from God.  So, we citizens are to honour them, respect them, and pray for them.  In so far as their leadership does not violate foundational convictions, they are to be obeyed.  Because they are our representatives, we do well to respectfully share with them our perspectives on issues facing our nation and our community.  They have taken on a heavy burden, and we should thank them, and do what we can to encourage them in the fulfillment of their duties.

That also means that our leaders should act in ways that are consistent with the will of the God who bestows on them the privilege of governance.  Honesty, integrity, compassion, wisdom, and respect for all people should be their identifying traits. They should have as much concern for the weak, the poor and the marginalized as they do for the strong, the rich and the prominent.  They should not be puffed up by pride and they should not become arrogant, because they are servants, both of the people and of the Creator.

In terms of the way we relate to those who have been elected, it doesn’t matter if your favoured candidate prevailed, or if the party you support has formed the government.  And for those elected, it doesn’t matter if the constituents who converse with you cast their votes for you or not.  We are together citizens and residents of this great community.  May we – electors and elected – honour each other, bless each other, and live and serve in ways that are in line with the will of the One who gives the gift of life and community.