Parliament begins with MP’s ‘high honour from God’
Archbishop Dr Glenn Davies has encouraged MP’s from both sides to live up to their calling as ‘ministers of God’ at a Sydney church service for the opening of the Parliamentary year.
The cross-denominational service at St Stephen’s Uniting Church in Macquarie St, included representatives of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship in New South Wales including Christian Democratic Party MLC, the Rev Fred Nile.
Premier Barry O’Farrell, the speaker, Shelley Hancock and MLC Greg Donnelly, on behalf of the Opposition leader, gave bible readings.
Mr O’Farrell read from Romans 13, in which the apostle Paul argues that human authorities have been instituted by God.
Archbishop Davies took up this theme in his sermon, telling the assembled parliamentarians “This is a very high honour which is given to our governing authorities, to describe our parliamentarians as ministers of God.”
“The people of the land need to submit themselves to governing authorities. This is part of God’s order for it is good” Dr Davies said.
“We separate our Parliament into ministers of the crown and those who are backbenchers. but Paul elevates all members of parliament, which even the independents might like to bear in mind, to bearing the title of ‘ministers of God’.”
“Therefore the responsibility that rests upon those who exercise governing powers is very great, for you are there for our good. You are there to extol the virtues of the God who created us and the God who puts you in that place of governance.”
But the Archbishop also turned to the final part of Romans 13 in urging the MP’s to love.
“Paul says love fulfils the law. Love does no wrong to the neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilment of the law. Love your neighbour as yourself. It is especially true of Christians in the parliament. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that love was to so resonate across both sides of parliament so that love might demonstrate itself as the means of making decisions for the good of the people whom you serve.” the Archbishop concluded.
As well as Dr Davies, leaders from the Catholic, Uniting, Presbyterian and Congregational churches led in prayer at the service.