On the Election: Remember Who You Are
If you are like me, you have been bombarded with articles, videos, posts, and statements about this current political season. Many have attached themselves to one party member or another, or in some cases are simply voting so the “other” candidate will not be elected.
Regardless, you have not heard from me, your pastor, on this issue. I have been, as you have been, prayerful about this election season.
So, if I can say anything, it would be this:be reminded of who you are.
“… you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
I Peter 2 (New Living Translation)
I read these words for the first time when I was a senior in high school. My bible was sitting on my desk in my bedroom. I was at the age where I was coming into my own. I was feeling a bit different, a little strange among my peers, and was growing more and more aware that to follow in the footsteps of Jesus would require me to be odd. This message from Peter to the persecuted church hit me like a ton of bricks.
As we draw close to the election, it’s time to be reminded that we are odd. Let’s just admit it, we are in a sociological, cultural, political, and religious mess. This election hasn’t really contributed to this mess … it has revealed it! As those who are odd, residents of another nation, the people who belong to God, we remember that Jesus, the second member of the Trinity, has a nickname: his name is “God-is-revealed-in-our-mess!”
For those who know no better, these are scary times. But you know better!
You are the baptized ones!
You are the ones whose eyes have been opened to the good news of the Gospel!
You are no longer aliens and strangers to God. You have been adopted, set free, and are now a part of a new and good family!
There are those in our congregation that will vote for Hillary Clinton, others will vote for Donald Trump, still others will vote for another candidate or will withhold from voting at all. Regardless, our invitation each week is to gather as permanent residents of another world – a community whose identity is found in the person of Jesus Christ – and we eat at his table together.
It is at his table that we are reminded that through his suffering, his death, and his resurrection,he has established a new Kingdom – a new political reality. And the mandate of this new political reality comes in this: As Jesus has been the best neighbor to us, let us be good neighbors to one another.
So as we attempt to live into this new political reality, I encourage you to walk into the secrecy of the voting booth prayerfully thinking in Kingdom ways:
• The scriptures tell us to “seek the welfare of the city.” (Jeremiah 29:7) What will serve the common good? What policies are good for all people, especially the poorest, most vulnerable, and disadvantaged?
• Are the people I am voting for seeking civil discourse? Are they civil in their conduct?
• Does this policy allow us to care well for the aliens, strangers, widows, and orphans in our land (a biblical mandate for God’s people).
• Are efforts going to be made to protect the sanctity of all life and reduce abortions? Am I voting so that services are in place to help those who choose to deliver their babies? Will there be greater opportunities for good education, health care, fair housing, and employment for all lives?
• Does this candidate support a foreign policy that leads to the reduction of conflict?
• Is there an effort to support religious freedom here and around the world?
Our congregation will gather with others for worship on the evening of November 8, election day. We will gather to remember who we are, to declare our allegiance to Jesus’ kingdom, and sing praises to the only one who is worthy. You are invited to join us. Let us continue to strive together to move forward into the ways of this new Kingdom together.
Especially in this uneasy political season -- May the Grace and Peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ be with you.