We have an election this month. Transport, telecommunications and fracking (I’ve been assured AGL are definitely not doing it in my backyard…) are my bug bears.
But then I read this.
Read it. Like actually. Stop reading this now and read that. Then come back and read this. Okay? Good.
This situation is a hangover from a federal election a few years back.
As atrocious, I realise, is the selfish nature of my election issues. I’m worried about making my trip to work more convenient, my internet faster and, only because it’s in my backyard, the environment. All of these issues are being addressed. But it’s just. not. fast. enough. for me.
These poor souls have no comfort, no safety and no selfworth.
I’m halfway through a Lent reading plan titled ‘Jesus, keep me near the cross.’ We’re reading through Lamentations. (Probably) Jeremiah’s reflections on a desolate Jerusalam. God’s wrath on his chosen people. The picture is not far from this picture of Nauru’s (and all the other) camps – the camps Australia has determined best fit for the men, women and children looking for safety, freedom, even a shred of joy.
They’ve walked, sold possessions, paid middlemen, withstood storms in leaky boats and stood in lines. They want what we’ve got in Australia. (Even the clogged roads, stagnant Internet and poor energy practises. Crazy, I know?!). But they’re no longer standing. The lines have stopped. There is no line. There are indefinite holding facilities. I mean there are lines, those daily lines to give them medicine, showers, clean clothes, water.
But still I worry about me and my life.
Jesus, keep me near the cross. Only in seeing the depth of my sin, can I see the unmatched grace and glory of the cross.
Forgive me of my selfish desires, focusing on issues affecting me. My comfort. My convenience. My happiness.
Focus my eyes on the depth and breadth of brokenness in my community and in my neighbouring lands.
Comfort, protect, free these precious souls from their adversaries. The adversaries my nation has brought upon them.
Keep my eyes fixed at the cross. The sacrifice. The gift of grace. Have mercy on me.
Yes, we should still be thoughtful as to what matters this election. Considering the priorities of the nmen and women’s names that will appear on the ballot papers in a few weeks. In rethinking the issues that matter to me I may come to conclusion. But perhaps this time round I’ll be considering my neighbours, those who don’t have a voice and the comfort, convenience and freedom of anyone other than myself.
What are the issues that matter to you this election? Are they those that matter in light of the cross?