Tonight we are engaged in what has, of late, become a particularly contentious event in our country. Elections like tonight have become, for many of our fellow citizens, increasingly important, while at the same time becoming a source of great doubt and confusion.
This year leaders on both sides tell us that this is the most important election in history. This may be true (although I know we heard this the last several elections as well) but even if it is true for our country that doesn’t mean it is the most important thing for you! The truth is there are some things that will be true tomorrow morning, or next week, or whenever the results become apparent, regardless of who is or isn’t in office. I wanted to take a moment to remind you of those things, in hopes it will help provide some stability and perspective for all of us during what may prove to be turbulent days for many.
So, here are a few things that will be true no matter who is in office.
1. God is King of the universe! He has never been thwarted by any government throughout all history. Fascists, Communists, monarchs, dictators and emperors will all bow their knee to Christ in the final analysis and certainly democratically elected leaders are no different. And this doesn’t change, regardless of whether you think they won fairly or did not win fairly. Solomon, arguably one of the most powerful kings in all history, reminded us that the hearts of kings are putty in God’s hands, being turned whichever way He pleases. God has not abdicated His role as leader of the universe and never will. Because He knows you and loves you, this matters so much more than the politicians who neither know nor care about you.
2. Political philosophies, no matter how important or right, are no justification for hatred. Jesus reminds us in the story of the Good Samaritan that our political, theological, and cultural disagreements do not justify our hatred of anyone. I am always amused and impressed when I remember that Jesus commended a roman solider in front of his apostles for “greater faith than I have seen in all Israel.” Think of that. The oppressor. The actual enemy to the jews in war. A soldier who leads the troops which threaten the jews every day should they disobey, asks Jesus for help and Jesus commends his faith as greater than that of his own apostles. It must have irked them something fierce. Somehow Jesus sees beyond politics and finds a place to love all. In our day conspiracy theories, political ideologies, slander, gossip, fear, and manipulative techniques of politicians on every side all work hard to make us think that it is right and even righteous to hate our fellow citizens if they do not vote as we do. No matter how distressed, angry or afraid you may feel Wednesday morning, remind yourself that if it is justifying hatred it is not from God. Man’s anger does not produce the righteousness of God (so says James) Seek God and find forgiveness, peace and comfort in His grace. Do not seek Social Media and find validation, affirmation and justification for your hatred.
3. At Focus, by the Grace God has granted us, we have built something truly unusual and special for our day. I am so proud of each of you. Consider: among his own twelve Jesus had followers of every political stripe of the day. People who would never have united under any other person than Jesus. Here at Focus we are the same. Remember that right now, people in our church, in this very community, probably in your own group, people you probably love who share so many values and convictions with you, nonetheless do not share all convictions with you. It is likely that in any one of our groups the voting was not monolithic and it is certain among our larger Focus community. We have in our midst people who hold strongly to opposing convictions of some of the most heated topics in our culture right now. We have republicans, democrats, independents, and others. We are united because we all seek the same God, however imperfectly. We look to the same Messiah and the same scripture. We love each other and are committed to helping each other through this journey in this life before we depart for the next. So please, remember that red and blue are not your enemy. Elephants and donkeys do not threaten you. We love each other because Jesus first loved us. Because we are serious about following Jesus we are serious about bearing with one another, caring for one another, sharing with one another and learning to love one another. This is not changed by the dominating color of a political map on broadcast television or the ranting voices on social media.
4. Jesus is the Messiah. He is the savior. He is our help in time of need and He is still the answer. No historical moment has ever changed that and one significant historical moment demonstrated just how true that is. The death and resurrection of Jesus.
5. I love you all and we’ll continue celebrating our Holy Days no matter what the days ahead of us bring. Because they are still Holy. What God did in the incarnation, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection is so much more important than any election results that it’s ridiculous to even bring it up. What happened in the first century BC was planned from all eternity and its effect stretches forward infinitely as well. People won’t even remember the people and results of tonight’s election in a mere hundred years (possibly not even in ten.)
Vote as your conscience dictates, pray as you think best, and then rest in the blessed trust that God’s Grace is powerful enough to raise the dead, save your soul, change the heart and guide your life.
Smiling at the Future,