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Sign of the cross

"... choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve..." Joshua 24.15

With these words Joshua challenged his fellow Israelites to make up their minds: whether they would go along with the crowd of surrounding nations and enslave themselves to the panoply of household deities, or whether they would commit themselves to the one, true God. Today we get to choose who will serve us in the Scottish Parliament, by marking our ballot papers with the sign of the cross.

For Christians, the sign of the cross is indelibly linked to the self-sacrifice of Jesus which he made out of love, for the sake of the world. But, as we were reminded in our Alpha Course last night, if we were the only person alive, Jesus would still have died for us. In other words, God's love is personal as well as universal. Above all it is costly - to God, so that it can be free to us.

Unfortunately that principle is lost on the current political firmament. The journalist who said on the news last night, words to the effect "Tomorrow is the voters' turn to call the shots" was closer to the mark than they realised. Because, while true, that is not the way it should be. Citizens should be calling the shots every day, while our elected representatives busy themselves in response. In fact what happens is that they behave as if the day of their election gives them a mandate to boss us around in pursuit of their own agendas for the next four or five years, until the evil day returns when they have to abase themselves again, for our permission to repeat the indulgence.

Jesus transformed our relationships - with God, the world and ourselves - and his disciples "turned the world upside down" (or "right side up" as I prefer to say). Isn't it time that our political system was revolutionised so that, instead of dividing along party lines and so setting all of us against each other, independent politicians may be selected on their own merits, to unite the country and work for the good of all, in the context of our neighbours near and far and mindful of the precious ecosystem we all inhabit and for which we shall one day be called to account?



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