graceThere is something in the air. Perhaps it is the lingering aroma of pumpkin pie or the refreshing taste of apple cider. These are some of the smells of autumn. A quick survey indicates that the landscape around us is also changing. Leaves are changing colours and soon the hills of Northumberland will be a riot of colour. Autumn is a season of change and renewal.

Of course the change in the weather is not the only sign that autumn is upon us. The Federal election is in full swing and in a few short days it will end. What change will be brought about by the people of Canada as they go forward to vote?

I have always been both surprised and dismayed by low voter turnouts. Participating in the political process through voting has always been an important privilege. A responsibility which should be taken seriously. From those who elect not to vote I often hear the same refrain, “There are no good candidates so why vote for anyone” or “My vote won’t make a difference anyway.”

It is a sad day when this is how the public feels. In a time when we can research almost anything with the touch of a button we are given unprecedented access to research and then to question the important issues of the day. Indicating that you are uninformed of the issues demonstrates that you do not consider them important enough to discover. There is a distinct lack of engagement. Yet, never has it been easier to learn about candidates and party platforms.

So too is the notion that a single vote will not make a difference. There are countless countries around the world where citizens are unable to vote. The civil war and resulting refugee crisis in Syria is a result of its citizens saying no to a repressive regime. The people of Syria want what Canadian’s have: The ability to vote.

As a Christian I approach voting and the decisions before us from a perspective of justice as taught by Jesus. The Canadian economy will continue to function just fine regardless of which party is in power. However, items of social interest and justice often require the will of government to see them through. The government of the day should not be one which divides us, but which unites us in order to create a better Canada.

I am reminded of the story where Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a well. It was taboo for a Jewish Rabbi and a woman to be alone together. That the woman was Samaritan only created further cultural problems. Yet in their conversation Jesus did not point to the differences between them. Instead he offered grace and life. His concern was for the woman and her welfare.

I long for a time when governments will demonstrate a true care and compassion for the citizens which elect them. When differences of policy can be set aside to do the hard work of governing and leading this nation. It is my prayer that the people of Canada will take the time to participate in this important process. It is my prayer that whichever party is elected they will be led by God’s Spirit of justice and compassion. That God’s will may be done. Amen.

* Being Led by Grace was originally published in the Northumberland Today on October 15, 2015.