That’s it America. We’re almost there. Only four days left till the booths are opened and the most heated Presidential election of our lifetime takes place.
Most Americans – regardless of political party affiliation – are anxious about what is going to happen to our country as a result of this election. Each side fears the worst if “the other candidate” wins.
She’s gonna ruin our country…
He’s gonna start a world war…
How can I support someone like that to be my president?
And the list goes on and on.
While the entire world sits on the edge of its collective seat to see what will happen on Tuesday, I wanted to share some of my concerns and worries as we approach this election as well.
You might be surprised to hear that while I too feel a bit of anxiety about this election, it isn’t for quite the same reason as everyone else.
I’m not overly concerned with what the next president will do to our economy. I’m not really afraid that the next president will start a nuclear war. And I don’t lose too much sleep over the future state of healthcare in this country.
It’s not that those things don’t matter to me – of course they do! I’d be a monster if they didn’t! It’s not that those things don’t matter to me, it’s just those aren’t the things that I’m most worried about RIGHT NOW – as we approach these next four days.
My concern is a bit different.
I’m afraid that we – the Church, the Body of Christ, the people who say that we follow Jesus as our Lord and Master, our Creator and Redeemer, the Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End…
I’m afraid that we would feel more strongly tied to our political identity than to our heavenly one.
I’m not saying that we shouldn't have political views or that we’re all supposed to have the same views. Absolutely not! We’ve been given freedom to think and discuss and disagree and that is what makes America the greatest country on the planet!
But what I’m saying is that there should be something deeper that unites us at times when our politics divide us.
We follow Jesus first; candidate X second.
We are children of God first; Republicans/Democrats second.
We care about one another first; one another’s politics second.
So as a priest serving in Arlington, VA – just a few metro stops away from Washington DC and the center of the political world – my chief concern is that the people of our nation (and the people of our church) would remember that our primary identity is not as Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, Hilary or Trump. Those allegiances are secondary at best.
Our primary identity is as a child of God and a citizen of His Kingdom.
You are God’s child and I am God’s child. So if we are each God’s child then that means we are brothers and sisters. WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS REGARDLESS OF WHO WE’RE VOTING FOR.
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” Galatians 5:13-15
Those words provide us the perfect perspective as we approach next Tuesday’s election for in those words lies the answer to almost ALL of this nation’s problems.
Our problem lies not with who we see in the Oval Office after the election; our problem lies with who we see in the mirror each and every single morning.
The problems of our nation CAN not and WILL not be solved by either candidate coming into office. In fact, there’s a good chance that whichever one gets elected will probably set us further back than we are today.
But that’s ok because there’s someone in this country who is more powerful and more influential than even the President of the United States. And that Person is One whom roughly 75% of Americans claim to be their Lord and Master – the One whom we follow with all our hearts, souls, mind and strength. That Person is Jesus Christ.
It’s time for the members of Jesus’ party (aka, the Church) to band together and change the state of this country by loving one another as Jesus commanded us.
It’s time for us to stop biting one another and devouring one another as St. Paul said (a prophecy about Twitter for sure) and instead seek to serve one another in love.
It’s time for us to learn that when it comes to politics, we don’t need to see EYE-TO-EYE to walk HAND-IN-HAND.
That’s what I think. Who's with me?