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SUNAK OR TRUSS

After months of waiting to see whether Boris Johnson would exit or remain, we have had weeks of waiting to see who will succeed him: Rishi Sunak or Elizabeth Truss. We shall soon know.

But Psalm 146 says it all: "Put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man." Or, in my own modern translation, "Put not your trust in politicians, nor in any human being." And the Psalm goes on, "Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help: whose hope is in the Lord their God."

This is not cynicism about politicians, but realism. A mentor of mine used to repeat to me the following words of wisdom, 'Remember, we are all made in the image of God, capable of sharing in his creative work; we are all finite, limited in knowledge and in power; and we are all sinners in constant need of repentance.' We ask too much of our politicians if we expect them to be able to solve all our problems and cope with all the world's upheavals. They are fallible and flawed, as we all are.

So, "Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help; whose hope is in the Lord their God." It is worth reading on through the rest of this Psalm, which explains why it is so much better to rely on God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth. He knows all; he cares for all; he judges all.

But it is even more than that. What has gone wrong with the world is quite simply that, as a race, we have turned our backs on God; we have ignored his laws and the guidance he has given us about how to live our lives. We worship other gods, whether we call them by personal names, as the ancients did, or not. We live our lives for worldly ends: for pleasures, food, drink, fame, fortune, sex, success, comfort, for our own 'well-being' or merely for our own survival. Whereas, God made us to love him, to love each other, to love the world that he has made, and to know peace and joy in him, now and for ever.

Politicians have no solution for all the problems our selfish nature creates, whether problems for the earth, or for the economy, for world peace or even keeping the peace in our own towns and villages and families. All the politicians can do is to wrestle with the consequences of our sin. We ask the impossible if we expect the Government to solve all the problems we make for ourselves. The only answer is for us to turn back to God.

This call, which is the call of Jesus and of the church to all mankind, is ultimately the only way back to Paradise. No political manifesto or programme is ever going to achieve this. The more we put our trust in such political solutions, the more we try to change the world in response to them, the worse the situation becomes. Marx and Engels had a plan; Lenin and Stalin thought they could realize it in Russia. The result was a tragic tale of human misery and suffering. Even our Welfare State is rapidly discovering its limitations and shortcomings.

While the world goes on in its own way, whichever way that is, those who have turned back to God have found a refuge. It is now Psalm 46 that says it all. We are inevitably caught up in the world's troubles, but "We will not fear though the earth be moved, and though the mountains tremble in the heart of the seas." It is not that we are spared all suffering, far from it. Jesus warned us, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16.33)

The good cheer comes not only from the knowledge that Jesus is always with us: "I am with you always, even to the end of the a world." (Matthew 28.20) It also comes from the fact that "our eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, which are transient, but on the things that are unseen, which are eternal". (2 Corinthians 4.18) Our hopes are not so much for a better life in this world, but for a far better life in the world to come: a world that is promised to us, that has been won for us, and that is laid up for us, in and through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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Next week I plan to talk about the state of the Church of England.

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