By now, many of you will have watched SNP’s Mhairi Black give her maiden speech during the Budget debate. If you haven’t, you should.
It has been over 24 hours and already her speech is making waves across the UK. Particularly among the younger generation, whose response is most likely a mixture of awe, inspiration and frankly, embarrassment at our feeble achievements. Not many students graduate and become the UK’s youngest MP. Instead many – if they’re like me – will be sitting aged 22, cringing at the memory of their ‘maiden’, and only debut speech at high school where 98% of parents in the audience had nodded off with the remaining 2% still awake being their very own mother and father. Not exactly newsworthy.
In comparison, this speech by 20 year old Mhairi Black had much higher stakes. Her platform? The House of Commons during one of the most important debates of the term. Her peers? Our nation’s leaders. And her audience? Oh just the whole of the UK, and the internet.
So, with this in mind, what message did Mhairi Black have to give?
Well, she spoke of hope. Hope for something better than our broken reality, hope for something different from disappointment. She spoke up for those who have no voice, with a resounding call for members to once again be a voice for the voiceless. She also spoke, adopting the late Tony Benn’s metaphor of weathercocks and signposts, of the danger of being swayed by public opinion, and the importance of having integrity when pointing others in the right direction.
With a speech packed with such passion and powerful political rhetoric, it was unsurprising that I, like so many others, sat up and listened. Yet, there was another reason that those words captured my attention. Party politics and political mandates aside, her message should sound very familiar to Christians.
We’ve been given the greatest hope there is, the hope of a new life in Jesus Christ. We’ve been called to be a voice for the voiceless, there can be no doubt about that. We’ve been warned of being blown off course by worldly opinion and, instead, called to follow Jesus’ example by living a life of integrity that unreservedly points to the Kingdom of God.
While we may not have the same political credentials and sphere of influence as Mhairi Black, we have a great God who can use us regardless of our CV. We may not have the House of Commons as our platform or the nation as our audience, but we do have the most powerful message of hope and the opportunity to share it wherever and with whomever.
Fortunately for us, this message of hope is not dependent on political parties or seats in parliament but on the Prince of Peace who has already won and who is seated at the right hand of the Father.
 1 Peter 1 v 3 (NIV); “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
 Proverbs 31 v 8 (NIV); “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”
 Luke 4 v 43 (NIV); “But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”