Christian nation, Christian values in an election year
WE just celebrated the Holy Week, in which we, as a nation, joined the rest of the world in reflecting on the life, work, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In Christ Jesus, God came to us to show us the way of life. In Christ God became man and lived among us, not only to die in our place but to live in our steady. He lived a life of perfect obedience before God the Father for our sake.
Jesus’ mission to humanity is made complete when we put His life, His suffering, His death and His resurrection into perspective. Jesus did not just die for us in order to give us life. He lived among us to show us the way to live.
In the words of RC Sproul (2012), Jesus “needed not only to die, but also to live a life of perfect obedience. The righteousness that He manifested could then be transferred to all who put their trust in Him.”
In his life, death and resurrection, Jesus shows us the way of love. His life is victory for us. He conquered Satan, sin and death.
His life is victory for us. He dismantles the kingdom of darkness and brings us into the Kingdom of Light.
He subdues the greed, pride, selfishness and immorality found in the hearts of human beings. Jesus shows us that the best way to live is to first die to self.
He demonstrates that you cannot truly find yourself unless you lose yourself to the service of God and others.
Jesus shows us the way of life. He is emphatic about the fact that there is only one way of life. That one way of life is LOVE.
Therefore, he reiterates that: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13, KJV).
Jesus’ command about love was so candid, elaborate, imperative and urgent. His emphasis is that “love one another in the same way that I have loved you” (John 13:34).
Jesus has loved us so much that He died for us. He has loved us so much that He took our shame. Jesus has loved us so much that He took our condemnation. He has loved us so much that He chose to die so that we can live.
In Jesus we see the expression of true Ubuntu. Jesus came to awaken us to the Father and to one another. In Jesus we find reconciliation with God and with one another.
We cannot claim to be reconciled to God without being reconciled to one another. We can play religion all we like, but without embracing the Jesus-kind of love, we will just be noise-makers before God.
Christ’s awakening is an awakening to a realisation that “I am because you are, and because you are, therefore I am”. I can only be truly me if you are truly you. Without you, my existence is incomplete.
Hence, the best way to love is to put your life on the line for your friends (John 15:13, MSG). Love uproots greed and selfishness.
Love denies self in order to accept the common good. As a Christian nation, this must preoccupy our minds in this election year. We must choose the way of Love. We must embrace the true Ubuntu. We must reject ubunama.
Political violence, abusive language and tribal politics bunama (animosity) – we reject them. We accept politics of ideas and policies. We accept civility and integrity in our political dealings. Ubu ebuntu [this is being human]. In a Christian nation, Ubuntu must prevail over ubunama.
Love must bind us together as a nation. Love is the only way of conquering ubunama (animosity) and embracing Ubuntu. Beyond political affiliation, beyond the colour of our skin and beyond our tribal groupings, we are One Zambia, One Nation. We are a Christian nation. We are one nation under one God.
We are a nation of faith. We are the Zambia that believes in Nzambi; we believe in the Almighty God. The God of no colour. The God of no tribe. The God of no race. A non-partisan God. We believe in the God of the whole universe, the One who reigns over all the earth. He loves all tribes and races equally. This is why we are one Zambia, one nation.
Therefore, Jesus becomes our perfect example in the way we must deal with one another as we participate in the political space. We must not allow partisan politics to divide our Christian unity.
Our Christian values as taught in the Bible, our national values as enshrined in our Constitution, and our Ubuntu values as preserved in our culture must reign supreme during the campaigns leading to the August 12 elections and beyond.
The big question during these elections is: what is true victory? True victory is not when a particular party or individual wins the elections. True victory will be when Zambia wins.
We must all deeply reflect on whether the true winner in the August 12 elections will be Zambia or some political groupings. It is not the question of whether party X or party Y will carry the day. It is the question of whether Zambia shall carry the day.
As we approach August 12, we must ask ourselves: How ready am I to sacrifice my political insanity for the sanity of Zambia? What must come first between my party and my country? Who must come first between my presidential candidate and my nation? Who is more important between my parliamentary, mayoral and councillor candidates and my nation?
We need to put first things first. Let us put Zambia first during this election.
After August 12, it is either Zambia shall win or Zambia shall lose. We can only celebrate Zambia’s victory after this election if we achieve violence-free campaigns. We can only celebrate victory if we achieve a bloodless campaign. We can only celebrate victory if we achieve a free, fair and credible election result. We can only celebrate victory if all political players and their cohorts will have chosen to put Zambia first before their political ambitions.
A victory for Zambia is possible. This is achievable if all of us can choose the Jesus Way; the Way of Love, the Way of putting others before self. It is possible to be more united as a nation after the elections. We can do this. Yes! We shall do this.
Keep it Jesus. Keep it one Zambia, One Nation.
God bless Zambia.
The author is a pastor and theologian.