9th March 2023

‘Time to put politics aside.’

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:41(NIV)

On February 6th, at 4.17am, the earth, without much warning, absentmindedly shrugged its shoulders. It settled down more comfortably under the part of the world where a border has been drawn between Syria and Turkey. The lives of thousands of people were changed in an instant. Over 47,000 people are known to have died and that number is expected to rise to nearer 50,000. That’s many more than the 40,000 capacity of Stamford Bridge, Chelsea Football club’s stadium. There are celebrations over individual and unlikely rescues – heart-warming stories but quickly eclipsed by the unmeasurable stories of pain and loss.  

News filters into our lives through smart phones, through radio, television and newspapers, and we are not, generally, surrounded by good news. Most of this stream of negative information is created by people not unlike ourselves, not unlike those around us – ordinary human beings, until something went wrong. There is a war in Ukraine; a mother and child are killed by a husband and father; a police officer is on trial for violently abusing women; waves of displaced, desperate and disillusioned people are making dangerous journeys across the world from nations torn by war or poverty in the hope of a new and better life.

But an earthquake is an event, seemingly without someone to blame. The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has said ‘It is time to put politics aside.’ For a while that might happen – it is happening. Then the world will return to its borders, borders defined by war, religion, poverty, wealth, sometimes geography and always struggles for power. Humans’ attempts to rule each other have resulted in the fragile and volatile world we live in today.

What kind of rule are people looking for? Someone with power but also compassion? Someone who uses that power for good? Someone who lifts them up from the depths of agony and despair? Someone who works to take away the pain? Some who are in positions of power now might see this as a goal they want to achieve but find themselves dragged down by others who relish the wealth and privilege that power confers. These include the developers that build poor quality buildings on a known fault line.

We need a rule that really does put politics aside, where power is in the hands of someone who has declared himself as ‘the light of the world’ (John 8:12); who takes away spiritual and physical blindness (John 9); who looks at people’s mistakes and doesn’t destroy them but says, ‘go and sin no more’ (John 8:11). We need rulership to be in the hands of someone who knows and understands our suffering, someone who rules the powers of nature (Mark 4:35-41).

In his gospel, John sees a better use of power, the promise of a better rule, and it is through the person of Christ who is the healer, the forgiver, the one who has suffered for that purpose.

Thanks to you, Almighty God, that we have a promise of a future rule that is  compassionate, just, and loving, as shown through the record of Christ’s ministry. Amen.

Study by Maggie Mitchell


About the writer:
Maggie Mitchell attends the Northampton congregation of Grace Communion International and is Chair of the Pastoral Council

Local congregation:
GCI Northampton
Ecton Village Hall
78A High Street

Local congregational contact:
Maggie Mitchell
Email:  maggie.mitchell@btinternet.com

Word of Life contact: