Don’t expect our politicians to be gods

What makes The Avengers so popular? We love stories of superhuman figures defeating oppressors and restoring justice to the earth.

Stories of mythology have always fascinated us. In Germanic mythology, Thor was the storm god, and thunder was the sound of Thor’s hammer. He was worshipped each week: Thursday is Thor’s Day.

In our movies, Thor is not a god but a superhuman figure. We’ve turned away from gods; we prefer humans with superpowers to save us.

The trouble is, that doesn’t work when it comes to real leaders. They don’t have superpowers. They’re mere humans, lacking the power to put everything right. When we place our faith in them, we’re disillusioned. Then we do silly things like throwing eggs to shame them.

In the last 12 years (2007 – 2018), the number of Australians satisfied with our democracy has fallen from 86% (six out of seven) to 41% (two out of five).

We no longer believe human leaders can deliver what they promise. That makes us susceptible to the mavericks with god-like promises to make us great again, mavericks speaking as if they were beyond the law, as if they were gods.

Haven’t we learned from history? 2000 years ago, Herod dressed himself in his royal regalia at his seaside palace and took his seat on the royal throne to address his people. Caught up in the spectacle, they cried, “This is the voice of a god, not a man.”

Herod’s audience quickly discovered he was only human. Worms infested his flesh, and he died. Worms eat most of us after we’re buried, but in Herod’s case the rot had already set in. Attributing super-powers doesn’t deify humans; it corrupts them (Acts 12:19-24).

So, is it worth praying about the upcoming election? Absolutely, but let’s be realistic about what we expect from our politicians. If they don’t take us to war, if we can lead peaceful lives, that’s about it really. Then we can live lives that represent the one who can save the planet from oppression and injustice.

Seriously, our politicians aren’t our gods. They’re important, but they can’t save us. Observe carefully:

1 Timothy 2 1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
3 This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. (NIV)

Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Riverview College Dean

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