A message to American worryers
The big, scary monster that was Election 2016 is no more! You just Amen-ed, didn’t you?
This past Sunday our church observed All Saints Sunday. One of the readings for that service was from Daniel 7, his dream of the four beasts. Of the dream, Daniel says, “my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me.” Seeing how this was the Sunday before Election Tuesday, I noticed how easy it was for all of us to relate to how Daniel felt. So many of us have worried about what the consequences of this year’s presidential election would be. Before Tuesday, people were fearful, on edge and deeply troubled with the tone and direction of American politics. Of course, many still feel that way Wednesday morning.
What was your reaction to the results of Election 2016?
The most scary thing about it all was that none of it was a dream. It was playing out on our TVs and smart phones every day in real, Breaking News fashion.
Considering Daniel’s feelings, and ours, too, I took the opportunity, since we were celebrating the victorious faith of the saints, to remind the congregation that we have been fearful before. Actually, it seems we’ve always been fearful of something or someone, some political party or world leader. But no matter what has stirred our fear, God’s message has always been Fear Not For I Am With You.
But you know how it is. When we worry we say and do things we might not otherwise do or say. Fear makes us strange. The Snickers commercials say, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” As children of God, we aren’t us when we’re fearful. And that’s been easy to see. Not many of us should be proud of how we handled this election season, considering all the ridicule, belittling and vehement opposition to other children of God all in the name of politics. I would never suggest there is anything wrong with strong discourse, or that all we need to do is “get along.” That’s too simplistic, shallow and dangerous. But I would suggest some of us need to grow the Hallelujah up and leave JR High behind us.
I wonder how many of you either took a break from Facebook, AM radio or cable news because you could stand what you were hearing.
BUT YOU KNOW HOW IT IS
Consequently, because of how it is, there is much pain within the heart our nation. How many times have I heard that the United States is divided! Sure, when it comes to vote counting and political agendas, we may be. As a people, though, we’re not divided. We’re broken. Things get broken all the time and in most settings anything broken merely needs fixing. Squeaky door? WD-40 will fix it. Hole in the wall? Easy patch work! There isn’t much a particular amount of duct tape or Gorilla Glue can’t fix–I love that stuff!
But not the human heart. No, our brokenness needs healing. I don’t expect a government or a political party to readily accept that. The church, however, should know better. Like salt on a wound, though, the truth is that many, many people of the Church of God gave to the other Caesar what their Caesar wanted them to. And, with a straight face and an “I Voted” sticker, asked God to bless our nation.
God forgive us.
Our other reading at this weekend’s service was from Luke 6, Jesus’ sermon on the plain. In no small way, Jesus illustrates the beauty and backwardness of God’s kingdom. Oh, you better believe that from The American Dream’s perspective or any other political system of this world, the kingdom of God is different, so much different than what we are used to seeing. Truthfully, it can be overwhelmingly uncomfortable. But it is that kingdom God has shown us in Christ Jesus. It is that kingdom we are to seek before anything else.
Who cares which candidate you’re with or what you want to make great again, if you, the body of Christ, do not live up to your high calling?
Please, church, let’s learn a lesson from the scary monster. As Americans, many of us realize what is wrong. In these first weeks after the election I am sure there will be a good deal of civility spread around here and there. What will happen in January 2017? I am not sure. But I do know that the brokenness we all have experienced needs a healing only God can provide. What we have experienced so often is that God uses you and I, the church seeking the Kingdom, to be and to bring that healing. So, People of God act like it. Like what? People of God, people redeemed by God. May it be that your church and my church, truly God’s church, be the healing presence our nation and world needs.
That will not always be easy; our healing cost Jesus his life. You can bet that at times there will be much to fear. That’s why God’s pre and post-election message remains: Fear Not For I Am With You
P.S. The All Saints service was beautiful.