Reflection for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity and the General Election. 

‘They took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honour, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.”…. He could do no deed of power there…. And he was amazed at their unbelief.’ From Mark 6:1-13.

“I have heard your anger and disappointment…. I am sorry.” Rishi Sunak apologising in his resignation speech as Prime Minister, although many others were also involved.

“I should think so. We’ve been telling him long enough!” Unnamed voter on TV. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has come to his hometown with his disciples and astounds those who hear him teach in the synagogue there. They question his wisdom and deeds saying, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” His brothers (possibly cousins) James, Joses, Judas and Simon are mentioned, as well as his unnamed sisters, and disbelief renders Jesus powerless as his identity and authority are questioned by those who simply see him as a local lad getting a bit above himself. Who does he think he is?

Jesus does not respond to the offence they in turn created for him at a time when he might have anticipated or welcomed support from those amongst whom he grew up. Instead, he calls his disciples and sends them out two by two – Jesus looks for another way to honour God’s call and his followers undertake this willingly and successfully. Despite the resentment of the locals, the word is proclaimed and the time there now becomes productive with many people being healed as Jesus shares his mission with those who are willing to work with him. Perhaps, at those times when we are unrecognised or blocked in what it’s hoped can be fulfilled, other ways can also be found to achieve or share this? 

During the recent electioneering, much was shared by leaders, candidates and campaign workers as leaflets were produced, debates held, journeys undertaken and doors knocked. This highlighted issues as well as policies and it was clear from the start that some of this was falling on deaf ears or being avoided rather than addressed. As Jesus experienced, many of those questioning what was unfolding preferred not to face the challenge and change being brought to them. Many chose not to listen to him or engage with it all as was the case for some in this election with the national turn out being the lowest since 1945. At times, anger, contempt and animosity were foremost, with all the party leaders experiencing the varying reactions of the electorate whose votes they were trying to secure and there being much negative comment. As the BBC’s commentator Chris Mason said, “There’s a lot of volatility about!” 

Eventually, the will of those who voted in all four home nations was clear and the way ahead obvious with Rishi Sunak accepting his party’s fate from a disbelieving electorate and conceding the election before the required number of seats had actually been reached. Many famous – or infamous?! – faces of all political persuasions were unseated as the former Foreign Secretary James Cleverly observed that, “Democracy is both a beautiful but also a brutal thing.” However, the change of Government was finally conducted with dignity and goodwill as failure was accepted, responsibility taken and both former as well as incoming Prime Minister acknowledged merits in the other. 

What now lies ahead will be no easy task as pledges made and challenges undertaken will be held to account with media coverage a huge factor internationally as well as locally, Poland’s TVP describing Keir Starmer as “a bit bland, even boring”. Will he be, or is that what is needed after so many years of turbulence? Can another way be found, as Jesus discovered and the electorate has now chosen, or will it be more of the same due to the huge issues that cannot easily or quickly be fixed or overcome? As in Jesus’ day, time will later show what is really unfolding throughout these events and we, too, will have our part to play in them or to help share, oppose or smooth the path of those trying to make a difference – or not, as we choose. 

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.