Epistle of Paul to the Romans 15: 5-7, 13 (NIV)
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A week from this day, after an ecumenical service of Christian worship, Senators and Members of Australia’s 45th Parliament will be sworn-in and will resume the business of governing this people.
The nation has high expectations of this Parliament that we will be governed well. What are the expectations of our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier with regard to this next Parliament?
Chapter 15 of this letter from the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome includes two short prayers for those to whom he was writing. For each Senator and Member of Parliament who honours Jesus Christ, excerpts from the passage above present a template for behaviour, speech and thought in this new Parliament:
- “as you follow Christ Jesus” – yes, follow him consistently in all parts of your life: public, family and private;
- “God … give you a spirit of unity among yourselves” – yes, as his children for eternity, ensure party or factional loyalty drops into a subordinate position as, across the Parliament, you exemplify Christian unity to the nation and to the church;
- “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” – yes, despite the all-too-natural preference to receive the adulation of the people for yourself, direct the glory to God and use your own thoughts, words and actions to give him the glory;
- “Accept one another … as Christ accepted you” – yes, not for any personal merit have you been accepted by God but because of his grace through Jesus Christ. Be accepting of Parliamentary colleagues therefore, especially those with whom you disagree. Treat all people with respect because all were created in the image of God;
- “… in order to bring praise to God” – yes, for this should be your motive in all public work*;
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace …” – yes, for that will give you the stimulus, the incentive, to continue the work for which God has placed you in our Federal Parliament; and
- “overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” – yes, so that your overflowing will bring great benefit to this nation and to the world through the outworking of Christian hope and through the good government that will proceed from it.
We, the people, pray Romans 15: 5-7 and 13 over you, our elected representatives in Federal Parliament. Amen.
* Prayers offered at the commencement of every Parliamentary sitting day include this sentence which is referred to in my Reflection for 12 August 2014 (emphasis added):
“direct and prosper
the work of thy servants (Senate) /our deliberations (House of Representatives)
to the advancement of thy glory and
to the true welfare of the people of Australia.”