Yes we must...
The votes have been cast. Two stirring speeches were given, both striking in their humility and call for unity. American democracy was on a world stage last night and we collectively demonstrated that the ideals of giving everyone a voice are still alive and well, perhaps more visibly demonstrated this year than any other.
But now that it's over, millions of believers are waking up either elated or exasperated, overjoyed or angry, delighted or despairing. I know this because this is a time of seismic political shifts among people of faith, with fractures growing along geographical, generational, theological, and economic lines, depending on your particular situation. I know this because in this first election since the rise of the blogosphere, inflammatory pixels have been hurled, believer at believer, with such intensity that outsiders would think the left and right worship different Gods.
Millions of Christians are feeling that the country is headed, more than ever, in the wrong direction, while the rest are conviced that better days are finally ahead and the right man won. Many are angry at the other side, incredulous that Christians could vote as they did. But behind the sound bytes, blog attacks, and flashes of apocalyptic rhetoric, if one listens carefully, there's a humble Jewish man saying, "by this all men will know that your are my disciples, in that you have love for one another." This love has largely gone missing during the recent political season. Continuing to wallow in bitterness or gloat in triumphal pride are not acceptable options for people who follow Jesus. We must find a way to move towards the healing of relationships and unity of heart and purpose that is foundational to our calling. Yes, we must.
Recovery begins by realizing that the winner is neither Messiah nor Anti-Christ. Believing that any party is God's party leads to heights of elation or depths of despair unbecoming to those who claim that Christ is our true king, His reign our true hope, and embodying that reign our true ambition. The reality that Jesus stands outside the confines of our political structures was demonstrated during His short stay on earth, when He was no party's poster child, no ideology's champion. He came offering a different kingdom, whose ethics and calling stand apart from the warring systems of this world. This is where we must place our hope.
We must realize that our calling is to live, right now in the present, in accordance with the priorities and ethics of our eternal King, and His coming kingdom. This will mean offering bold critique and resistance at some moments, and enthusiastic support at others, for various positions and reforms offered by both the left and the right. As we seek to embody this Kingdom, the walls that have divided us will fall down, because we will care about life in the womb, and life on the streets; we'll care about justice and mercy; we'll care about loving our enemies and standing up for those who are unprotetcted. We'll become artisans of genuine hope, spilling the colors of beauty, reconciliation, celebration, serivice, justice, peace, and compassion on the canfass of our communities. This, I'm convinced, is not only our calling in Christ, it's what our world desperately needs in these immensely challenging days. We must lay our weapons down and commit to being the presence of Jesus in the world. Yes. We must.