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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

19 June 2019: Jon Piper, Hope Church

A Saviour on Capitol Hill

At the time of writing, both the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat parties are in the middle of elections for their respective new leaders. The races have been eventful to date, with plenty of promises and lots of surprises too.

One of the most surprising things about political races like these is that anybody can still be surprised by anything in politics. There seems to be a certain mundanity and inevitability in the ebb and flow of national politics. Even those politicians who seem to push against political norms seem just as liable to make the same mistakes as others

Just before the first election of Barak Obama in the US in 2007, a musician named Derek Webb released a song called A Savior On Capitol Hill. Webb says in his first lines:
“I’m so tired of these mortal men/with their hands on their wallets and their hearts full of sin/scared of their enemies, scared of their friends/and always running for re-election.”
Webb’s words might appear cynical here, but his broad point is one that’s deeply rooted in Christian doctrine. He’s recognising that, in a broken world, full of broken people who need to be healed, it would be foolish to expect our rulers to be exempt from this brokenness. We’ll never see a saviour in Parliament (or on Capitol Hill, as Webb says) – Jesus is the only saviour, but he was never elected.

For Christians, expecting politicians to provide the kind of healing or salvation that we really need is theologically foolish. But we also believe that God made humans ‘in His image’ – we should expect God to work through people. So we’re left in a strange position: don’t be surprised when your politicians let you down, but hope and pray that God will do His work through them.

Let’s pray fervently!

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