Five Prime Ministers in seven years.
Last night’s shenanigans in Canberra was a eureka moment for Australian media, and I confess that I was stuck to my television and to twitter like that final strand of spaghetti that you can never scrape off the bottom of the saucepan.
The second by second drama being played out on the ABC was dripping with more bolognese sauce than you can find in all Italy. We have officially lost all rights to mock the Italian political system, as comic as it has been for many years. We used to laugh at them, but now we are laughing at ourselves, and we must because otherwise we would hear our groans as we grow increasingly exasperated at our national leaders.
I share the view of many Australians, and that removing a sitting Prime Minister is imprudent and unsavoury; it may be within the rules of political warfare but as history has shown us, it is counter-productive.
Our recent history of political hits may belong to the script of a Spaghetti Western, and it also reflects our society’s heart more closely than is comfortable. Yes, we want our leaders to stop following opinion polls and instead lead, and yet we demand them to do our bidding. We want a vision for our nation’s future, but we are too greedy to wait or to sacrifice for the good of our children. A society that demands solutions now and without personal cost has not learned the meaning of community. And so it should not surprise us to see that our Governments turn to expediency in both policy and people. That leaves me wanting to urge our Governments to govern well, and it also leaves me with a greater anticipation for the perfect Government that is God’s.
Government is an expression of God’s grace and provision for the common good of society; it is a God given means to create order, peace and justice (Romans ch.13). But even the best functioning Government is only a tiny impression of what God promises us in Christ:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 7)
One day our political system will become redundant, but in the mean time we Christians want to take seriously both Romans ch.13 and 1 Timothy ch. 2. This morning I have begun by putting into practice these words written by the Apostle Paul,
‘I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior…’