Election in a real democracy is a wonderful thing. In it bullet points, rather than bullets fly at the opposing parties. Even when rhetoric outstrips reason in the speeches opportunities for public engagement abound and no one is immune from a verbal drubbing.
Ballot boxes are sealed and each vote is cast in secret. Polling booths are policed and those recording voting papers are people of the highest integrity. The invitation to check the voting register in the weeks before the election is widely advertised and all citizens eligible to vote have an opportunity to check that they are listed.
This week we have been treated to a masterclass in the UK election with all votes counted and results announced in something like 17 hours.
The polls, which bombarded the voters with statistics purporting to show how the Parties’ fortunes swing, come to their moment of truth when their figures are matched against the actual results. During this period of high drama I have known many people who have stayed up all night fascinated by the fluctuating fortunes of their Party.
Another feature, almost uniquely British, is the resignation of party leaders when the number of seats gained failed to match expectations. I think this time four leaders have done the honourable thing and stepped aside to let another pick up the reigns.
The nature of election is that there are winners and losers. Everyone cannot win. Some will be disappointed. Some may lose their job. Some may have to get out of their home. Some may find that life will never be the same.
When it comes to ‘election’ in the Bible you would understand that God would not leave it to chance. There would be certainty to the whole thing. His purposes cannot be thwarted. What he starts in a life he will finish. He knows what he is about. It was planned before the foundation of the world, carried out in time and completed in heaven (Ephesians Chapters 1 & 2).
The amazing thing about God’s election is that we are the ones who are canvassed. He works on us the most unlikely of material, utterly without merit, to make us useful to him. This usefulness comes from being ‘in Christ’. Our candidate is our redeemer. The election results are not celebrated much in this world the rejoicing is in heaven (St Luke Chapter 15 verse 10).
St Peter’s check-list can give us confidence in our election; “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective … confirm your calling and election for if you practice these qualities you will never fail”.
(2 Peter Chapter 1 verse 5-10).