Dear Friends,

Even though the General Election was only a week ago (as I write) it already feels like a distant memory. Instead, the fallout from the various resignations and reorganisations is now hogging the limelight. And yet fleeting though Election Day was, I wonder whether we really appreciate the significance of our right to vote? At times, I too feel like my vote doesn’t have much significance in the grand scheme of things, and yet I have always taken pride in exercising my right and responsibility to vote.

As we celebrate 800 years of the Magna Carta we are reminded of its significance. Whilst at the time, it was a deal done by an unpopular King to placate his rebellious barons, this famous historical charter has come to represent so much more. At its heart were a number of landmark restrictions to the King’s power: he no longer had the right to illegally imprison people, the rights of the church were to be protected and, possibly most significantly, limits were placed on feudal payments to the Crown. In short, it said for the first time ever, that even the monarch wasn’t above the law

The feudal society of the Magna Carta’s time is of course very different to our modern context. And yet enshrined within its charter is an eternal truth that is still as fundamental to us now as has ever been, the belief that every single person, regardless of status, has the right to be counted as free under the rule of law. At its best, the church and other faith communities reflect that liberty and equality so that the people whose lives they touch feel affirmed of their unique contribution and personhood.

So, I’m going to go on voting according to my conscience, whether a seat is safe or not. After all, we live in a country where it is my right and privilege to do so … thank God!

Tim