Wednesday 3 July 2024

Thy Kingdom Come

St Paul famously tells us that our citizenship is of heaven (Phil. 3:20). That doesn’t mean that earthly politics doesn’t matter to us, but it’s not what we place our hope of salvation in. With a general election upon us, today seems like a day to remind ourselves that we belong to Christ’s Kingdom.

Someone once said that, during the course of Jesus’ trial, every political system is tried and found wanting. The religious leaders of the Jewish theocracy, the soldiers of the Roman dictatorship, Herod’s monarchy, the voice of the democratic mob all reject Christ as King. There is no perfect political system. Politics alone will not solve all the problems of the world, as we are warned in Psalm 145: “Put no trust in princes, in the sons of men in whom there is no salvation.”

Not trusting in earthly leaders doesn’t mean having nothing to do with politics. We still have a responsibility to do what we can to co-operate with God in bringing about that prayer we utter so many times a day, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It is our duty to vote in a way that puts God’s will into action. But we don’t honestly think that electing the right candidate at the general election will suddenly change the world and solve all our problems, do we?

There has never been a perfect prime minister. There has never been a perfect monarch. Not even Saintly King Edward the Confessor was perfect. Even religious leaders aren’t exempt. There has never been a perfect pope, and there never will be. The fact that Pius X and John Paul II have been declared saints by the Church does not mean that they never made a single mistake in their lives. No political system, no political or religious leader is perfect, because no human being is perfect. Well, except two — and that’s why only Christ is worthy to be the King of the Universe, and his mother to be Queen of heaven.

When we think that we can achieve perfect happiness for everyone through political action, we are trying to save the world through our own efforts. Like Israel in the Old Testament, we are forgetting that God is our King. And that’s going to lead to trouble.

Both our country and the Church have problems running through them from top to bottom, because they are both made up of fallible human beings. But instead of trying to fix things at the top and expecting the change to trickle down, our starting point for improving things should be ourselves. How can I make Christ King of every aspect of my life? If we all really did that, there wouldn’t be many problems left for politics to solve.