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Benefice of Boldre and South Baddesley

Vicar's Letter

 The choices we make…

I have just returned from a wonderful funeral. That may sound like an unlikely combination of words to you but pretty much everyone who left the service agreed that it was wonderful. It was filled with light and love and the secure hope of the resurrection to eternal life. It was a great event to be part of as family and friends said goodbye to someone who was so deeply cherished. Despite the crushing sadness there was the joy of heaven to hold us. This, I thought, is why I do this job: to help people come to a realisation that God is good and that he will hold us on both sides of the great divide between life and death.

I say this here because we have just been informed that we are to have another general election. Over the next few weeks we are to once again enter into the debate about who can best run our country. Involved with this is that bigger question - what sort of country do we want to be? No doubt we will be provided with lots of arguments as to who should govern us. There will be all those party broadcasts, debates and hustings to take notice of. Candidates will clamour to be the loudest and the most believable. Party machines will swing into action and deliver all the information that we need to know in order to make a fully informed choice. Yet in the end we get to choose which way we will vote. Only we can make that mark on the voting paper.

And for me this links with the funeral at lots of levels. For the funeral reflects just whom the deceased chose to trust and believe during their life here on earth. The service today was for someone who had a very high-powered career in science becoming a University lecturer. They knew all about the intricacies of molecular biology and also had a quiet, rock-solid faith in the God who sent his son to save us. The service reflected this faith and its belief that through that son we can all have access to the peace of heaven.

The Christian faith calls us to pray for those who hold power and authority. Praying that they may govern with wisdom and justice, seeking to serve the good of all. But it also reminds us that we are citizens of another kingdom. Our true identity is found in being children of God. So whilst we should all use our vote to elect those who we decide will represent us best it is in the end what we do with our lives in our communities that matters most. For if we live in the hope that another world is possible, a world where love, joy and peace are released to transform lives and communities we will never be disappointed in the results. It is for me far easier to be a follower of Jesus than the member of a political party. For I have come to discover that the one who is charge of my life will never let me down. He will be with me through all the struggles of this life and in the end he will grant me a peaceful rest.

May the God of peace guide us all in the choices we make,              Neil.