As a rule I don’t do a lot of political commentary, but since a Presidential election is a big deal and concerns all of us as its results will have wide-sweeping ramifications both in the immediate and long term future, I thought it would be worth sharing how I prayed this morning for this election. Do with it what you will.
Three “pleas” on election morning. Perhaps not revolutionary, but I hope helpful:
1) That we (the nation) would realize that presidential elections really do matter. There’s a sentiment I hear sometimes that goes something like this: “You know, in our modern political climate, its really hard for a president to do anything substantive; to really make changes. Therefore it is better to work for local change and engage in local politics, etc etc.” True enough on the latter; but as pertains to the former, I think that is a sentiment that is totally falsified by recent history. Presidents can help create legislation that leads to economic collapses, they can lead us into costly wars, they can push us further and further into debt, they can contribute to and calcify a divisive and bitter political atmosphere. Decisions made in the Oval Office lead to people holding cardboard signs asking for money on my street corner. I am a citizen and a Christian, and I care about that. It matters.
2) That we (the nation, and Christians in particular) would vote not selfishly or angrily but with humility and according to our highest convictions about what will create the most good for all people. People have different opinions on what will lead to the “most good for all people”, and even what the “good” actually looks like. This is a way of saying that these choices (for one candidate or another) are not nearly as straightforward as they sometimes appear. And voting for any candidate is inevitably a gamble. Who knows whether or not this person will actually live up to what they said they’d do? It’s a bet. My prayer is that we’d understand that and still try to make the best choice we possibly can.
3) That we, the People of God, would remember where our primary allegiance lies and understand that the real “politics” of the People of God is neither the politics of the Right or the Left, but the new reality that we live in, under, and through in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s” said Jesus in a memorable moment in the Gospels. We give our votes to the Republic. We give ourselves to God, spirit, soul, and body, as persons bought by the blood of Christ. And in giving ourselves completely to God, we give ourselves over to a new polis, a new politics: the city of God, the politics of the Crucified and Resurrected Jesus: a politics of grace and peace, of self-giving love, of unity in the Holy Spirit. And whenever and wherever the politics of the “empire” divide us, then, sadly, it is clear that we have “no king but Caesar.” This is NOT a plea for a giant “kumbayafest” in which we all just hug and get along and pretend that this stuff doesn’t matter. Nor is it an argument that we shouldn’t have vigorous debates about what is best on the national level (politically speaking). Good grief. We’re such an oversensitive nation that the mere expressing of one’s own opinions is often seen by others as a threat. Gosh. Enough of that. It IS a plea however that we would remember that when we come to the Table, we relativize our old “tribal” loyalties: Democrat and Republican, Male and Female, White and Black, Slave and Free. No – Christ is all and is in all. Let us remember it.
So… breathe on this election Lord God. Keep this nation under your care.
In the Name of the One who is called the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth”,