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A Service in St Mary Undercroft: The Chapel In Parliament
Entering the stunningly fanciful chapel was a marvelling experience. I was stepping into a chapter of history; this beautiful architectural masterpiece had originally been completed in all its splendour by King Edward I in 1297 and restored in the 1860 and 1870’s by Edward Barry, who reproduced the early medieval décor, creating a holistic and spiritual house of worship. What struck me the most however was not the exquisite resplendence of the building but instead the congregation. I was surrounded by MP’s and other members of staff from the houses of parliament who had taken time out of their exceptionally hectic schedules on the run up to the election to stop and turn their attentions to Christ.
The sermon declared a message to ‘trust in God’, an important and vital teaching to remember when the future for many individuals is completely unpredictable and their lives are going through significant tests and changes. I talk here not just of the MP’s who face the run-up and results of the election, and the risk of losing their seats to the opposition, or even those who win in the next election as they have the responsibility to serve the people honestly and respectfully. But also of the voters, who have a responsibility to put their faith in the Lord and use their power as citizens to vote for the party who they believe serves the needs of the common good.
The Bible teaches that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) It is true that God is our rock and our strength, and as the sermon preached, sometimes it is possible to forget about the power of prayer and the gift of faith and be distracted from the divine will of the Lord. My experience at the service in St Mary Undercroft reminded me that as I battle on in life, in fear of whether or not I will get a job when graduating or get firsts in my exams instead I should be putting my faith in the Lord, as he has a plan, and our responsibility is to “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The service made me realise even more so that being an MP is not by any stretch of the imagination an easy job. As a Christian MP they have the responsibility to live life in the light of Christ, campaigning and working towards social and economical justice. As is represented by the Labour parties promise to make a manifesto that commits to anti-poverty legislations, in response to the Conservative MP who prevented the prohibition of Vulture funds. They work with the intention of bettering their communities whilst constantly being in the public eye, responsible for their every move and yet as I discovered they are still modest and welcoming individuals. They were not intimidating, and nor did they act with any sense of superiority.
Witnessing Christians worshipping in Parliament was an exceptionally thought-provoking experience, a display of how God has worked through these individuals to give them a drive for justice and a passion for working within politics and the public sphere in the light of Christ's teachings.
Eve Parker, 30/03/2010