Where to put your X

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The political parties of this nation have now officially launched their campaigns for the 2017 General Election. Their policies are being proclaimed and their visions for how they see the future of our country, unveiled.

In sound bites, interviews, newspaper articles, leaflets, Party Political broadcasts, Facebook postings, television programmes and tweets, there is no escaping from the unrelenting (and sometimes confusing) propaganda that surrounds us.

Each party is setting out their stall and sharing their hopes, dreams and visions for the next five years.

They vie for our attention even as they do for our vote.

Each party tries to sway us as to why it is important we exercise our democratic right and put an "X" on the ballot paper on June 8th against the name of their party's candidate.

All of this is of course, summed up in their party manifesto — that collection of policies and goals that they hope will enthuse people to vote for them and which will hold them accountable to the general public whilst in office if they happen to succeed next month.

The manifesto is saying in effect, this is who we are, this is what we are about, these are our values and this is what we will do.

In Luke's Gospel chapter 4, we find Jesus doing something very similar at the beginning of his public ministry. Verses 16-20 often referred to as the "Nazareth Manifesto", show him setting out his stall, saying what he is about, what he sees as being important and the role that he is going to fulfill.

Unlike with many politicians, there was no discrepancy between what he said and what he did — his actions fulfilled his words and his deeds his promises.

Who we vote for is the big question and ultimately it is up to each and every one of us to make that decision as we see best.

Within our Churches and faith groups, just as in Parliament, there will be Christians aligning themselves with the various political parties.

I guess that whatever party we eventually support, it is the one who for us, most closely aligns itself with the words Jesus proclaimed in the synagogue in Nazareth; "'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."

With love and God Bless,

Keith

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