Read Romans 13:1-7
This week, the nation chooses its government in the Scottish Parliament. Much is made of ’the will of the people of Scotland.’ And it is good that we, as much as anyone, have an input into that will with our votes this week.
But as God’s people, there’s a unique perspective for us to take, given to us in Romans 13. Repeatedly, Paul writes here that the authorities are ‘God’s servants’ – that the job they have to do, around administering a just society, and administering the finances of the nation, is a work to serve God. Justice and stewardship for the flourishing of life is their commission, and it’s not an easy one.
Here, we’re told to submit to the governing authorities. ‘Easy for you to say, Paul, you didn’t have the other lot that I didn’t vote for come into power!’ Well, no, not easy for Paul to say. He was writing to Roman Christians about submitting to a Roman government of dictatorship, who brutally established their rule, who began to persecute the early church, and who held Paul’s own life in their hands. Yet Paul writes these words calling for respect and obedience to governing authorities. If he can write that in his context, you can live it out in ours.
Whoever’s in power at the end of this week, and whatever the shape of the Scottish Parliament, may we as Christians be respectful and prayerful about the job they have to do, thankful for their God-given commission of justice and stewardship, and examples in our citizenship and our tax affairs.
‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.’
1 Timothy 2:1-2
Father, thank you for those who lead us now in this nation, and who will lead us from the end of this week. Whether I am glad they are in that position or not – I recognise the huge responsibility of administering well justice and stewardship for our nation. I pray that you give wisdom to our leaders, and strength for the task. I pray that you will align noble ambitions with Kingdom of God priorities. May we, your children, also be found to be lights as Scottish citizens and residents. In Jesus’ name, Amen.