Compassion, hope, and transformation
Writing exclusively for Endeavour Public Affairs, Jim Dobbin MP, reflects on the message of Easter and its relevance to politics today. In his article he writes that the final thing that Easter brings to mind (for him) is transformation. It is the feast of transformation as death gave way to life for Jesus and also the time of year when other things transform. Dark nights become light. Cold winter gives way (we hope!) to warmer spring.
Jim Dobbin is the Labour Member of Parliament for Heywood and Middleton.
As a Christian, my faith plays an important role in all my life including my work as an MP. As we approach the Easter recess, we are debating the budget in Parliament and I can’t help but reflect in Christian teaching.
I have been thinking about the compassion people deserve and need in our society today. Whether that is parcels from food banks, clothes from churches, or food and warmth from night shelters, there is a lot of compassion needed and visible in society today.
As a legislator, it makes me pause for thought and to look at how we address those problems and care for the needs of those who cannot care for themselves, and the role of government within that.
Jesus taught us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12). Philosophers might call it the ethic of reciprocity and even people with no faith refer to this as the golden rule. To me, though, it forms the centre of my faith.
It is the thought of this which motivates me to do my best in my work in Parliament or at surgeries in my constituency.
Another message of Easter is Hope. It was Cardinal Hume who said: “The great gift of Easter is hope…”
I constantly hope that I do the best I can for my constituents in Heywood and Middleton and for the wider country. I hope that, as a Labour MP, I can help stem the tide of measures this Conservative-led government is bringing forward which are creating unnecessary suffering and worry to the poorest in our society. I see groups organising against injustice and am hopeful for the future. I see NGOs fighting oppression, poverty, and hunger, and am hopeful for the future. I see some of my colleagues campaigning for equality of opportunity and am hopeful for the future.
The final thing that Easter brings to mind is transformation. It is the feast of transformation as death gave way to life for Jesus and also the time of year when other things transform. Dark nights become light. Cold winter gives way (we hope!) to warmer spring.
In Westminster, my mind turns to transformation of a different sort. I work hard to ensure the transformation of society for the better. I want to see a society where every baby born has the same opportunities, where every child gets an equal education, where patients in one part of the country get the same quality of treatment as those in another. A society where people are allowed to get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, and where the Government is investing in growth to create jobs for those that do not have them. A society where the sick, disabled, unemployed, and poor are treated with respect and fairness. That really will take a huge transformation. But Easter reminds us of compassion and hope and I know that transformation is possible.
Published: Friday 29 March 2013
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