In The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis explains that the white queen’s magic is undone because Aslan draws back to deeper, older, stronger magic by freely offering himself in Edmund’s place. That comes to mind because, with the imminent UK General Election and all sorts of promises in the various party manifestos, I am pondering what might qualify as the deeper manifestos to guide my vote.
As a Christian, I’m drawn back to the Bible, which is a deeply political book with, in my understanding, a strong leaning to the needs of the poor. Recognising that most political parties contain convinced and committed Christians, it can’t be expected to entirely determine the colour of my pen but I think there are some strong themes that come through. For example, take the first few chapters of Luke’s gospel:
He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent away the rich empty-handed
Every ravine will be filled,
And every mountain and hill will be brought low;
The crooked will become straight,
And the rough roads smooth
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
In fact, the latter two of those are quotations from Isaiah, writing hundreds of years before the time of Christ. Together, they suggest a theme of equality and narrowed social divides. They are about the coming of the Lord and aren’t a situation that we can build entirely ourselves but they combine to make me much more interested in the question of what each of the parties offers to do for those who are disadvantaged in society, to level the ground, than about what they can do for my direct benefit.
This, I think, is the challenge of God’s deeper manifesto.