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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Dwelling in unity.

Well, it's now almost an hour since the polls closed - no more votes may be cast; the die is set!  By tomorrow afternoon, most of the results of the local Council elections will have been made public.

I suspect that I have been the most laid-back candidate in the country!  Well, I am certainly unaware of anyone else who went off on holiday two weeks before polling day, and only returned on the evening before the elections!  Of course, I have been in the happy position of not having to worry about whether or not I am elected.  As I have stated before, in simple human terms, I have absolutely no chance.  I did no real campaigning other than attend a couple of hustings (a late arrival at the first!); provide a short piece for each of the two local newspapers (as every candidate was invited to do); and pass out some home-printed leaflets to near neighbours and to some carefully selected friends.

For me to be elected would require nothing short of a miracle!  Of course, I do believe in miracles, and in the God of miracles.  If it is His will that I be a North Lanarkshire Councillor for the next four years, I will seek to fulfil my duties to the best of my ability.  But if I am not elected, I will not be shedding any tears!

This afternoon and early evening were spent in visiting each of the Polling Places within the Ward, and spending some time in each - talking with the helpers of other Candidates, and with a couple of the Candidates themselves.  We represented different political Parties - on certain issues, miles apart in policy - but we were able to chat in a friendly fashion, with not even a hint of rancour.

As I drove away from one Polling Place, I found myself thinking how different it sometimes is within the Body of Christ!  How often I have witnessed those who are supposed to share a common faith - belong to the same Party, in political terms - almost at each other's throats!  How quick we sometimes are to accentuate the things about which we differ, while setting to the side the things that we have in common.  How afraid we often seem to be to even appear to be compromising our own particular standpoint.

As I shook the hands of two young, Asian background, SNP supporters; as I chatted with Labour activists; as I listened to the tales of woe of a supporter of one of the Independent Candidates; I didn't, for one moment, compromise my own Christian beliefs and values.  Why is it so difficult to take the same attitude with those who claim to follow, and worship, and serve, the same Christ Who is my own Saviour and Lord?

The Psalmist wrote: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters!) dwell in unity! ... ... For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life for evermore." (Ps.133:1,3).

Could it be that the Church is missing out on blessing simply because we are not dwelling in unity?!

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