So I will write about the election.
I’m a pastor and people are hurting. I have heard from hurting people who voted for Hillary Clinton. They are concerned about the future of our country. I have heard from hurting people who voted for Donald Trump. They feel depicted as a racist or an uncompassionate person. Let’s agree there is enough hurt to go around right now.
The person who best understood the potential and perils of the American government was not an American, but a Frenchman, Alexis de Toqeueville. His book, Democracy in America, is required reading in most college political science and philosophy departments across the country. His words, written as a twenty-nine year old in 1835, remain at once insightful and profound:
- The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.
- America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
- Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.
He has another quote and you can sense in it both the genius of a philosopher and the faith of a child: And Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.
My only helpful contribution to this week’s political discourse has to do with faith. I believe in salvation by grace through faith. I believe the words Jesus spoke were simultaneously full of truth and grace. And, I believe these words are needed more today than ever.
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. Serve. Forgive. Treat everyone with respect. Love your enemies. Pray for those who persecute you. Don’t seek revenge or bear grudges. Don’t judge others. Love everybody and everybody means anybody. I have told you all this so that you may have peace. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. -Jesus
Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, lived at the same time as de Toqeueville. He wrote: “When you label me, you negate me.” And he is correct. I have observed a lot of labeling in the last week. Your world and the world will change when WE all do more listening and less labeling.
The Water’s Edge is a diverse church. That is one of the things I love most about it because I believe God’s Kingdom is as diverse as diverse gets. This morning WE will all receive communion. Not some of us—all of us: Democrats, Republicans, people who don’t care about politics, young, not-so-young, sinner, saint, healthy, hurting, women, men, children—one God, one loaf, one cup. WE get to remember Him: His words, His actions, His life, and His death. And after WE remember Him, WE will return to the world that hasn’t changed much in the previous sixty minutes to do our part in bringing healing and hope to the world.