It’s been manifesto week. Each political party has told us what we can expect if they are successful in the General Election on 8 June. Between the main parties, we can expect, and I quote, a radical, responsible, strong and stable, brighter future. Well, we’ll see.
I know it’s hard not to be cynical or dismissive but it’s important that we, as Christians, engage with the political process and have a good understanding of the times in which we live and serve.
I attended a meeting this week where the talk was all about manifestos. There, it wasn’t called a manifesto but asked similar questions – what are we here for? what does this group exist for? what are we trying to achieve and how will we know when we’ve achieved it? These are deep and oftentimes painful questions, but important ones for any organization to get to the heart of its core business or purpose. They are, perhaps more honest than a political party’s manifesto because where a manifesto is the shop-window trying to sell its political wares to its public, the more soul searching questions that were asked in the meeting I attended was a genuine attempt to see whether the group was really on-track, or whether reform was needed. And some of its conclusions weren’t flattering or for public consumption.
At the heart of the ministry of Jesus, we see His manifesto. He borrows the words of the prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come. Luke 4
How important to remember that, whilst central to His coming, the death and resurrection of Jesus were not the only reasons Jesus came. He came to bring new life, freedom, blessing and Good News. Life in all its fullness here and now, as well as in eternity.
At a Special Church Meeting this week, the members adopted a new constitution which will allow us to engage more fully in the service of our community. Charity status and the like are not the most exciting parts of what we do, true, but this reform is an important step in the right direction to live according to the manifesto of Jesus.
The life of Jesus is not just an interesting detail between the virgin birth and his sacrificial death but rather demonstrates to those who follow Him how they are to live – in the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaiming, releasing, blessing, healing, loving and announcing God has come near.
We have a plan, a manifesto. We are not called to sit around waiting for heaven clutching our ticket to eternity – rather we follow in the Master’s footsteps.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon us…