Summary: With the elections over, what should be our response as we seek to follow Jesus. Is it enough to get on with our lives? Or is there more asked of us?
Elections: Our Response
November 9, 2008
There were two men who were good friends but disagreed on one thing: what color Jesus was. Jack was certain that Jesus had been white. Charles was convinced that Jesus was black. Around and around they went. Well, as strange circumstances had it, they both died on the same day. They found themselves approaching the gates of heaven and rushed up to them to be greeted by Peter. The only thing on their minds was who was right.
“Tell us Peter, who is right. What color is Jesus?”
At the moment, hearing the commotion, Jesus walked up and greeted them saying, “Buenos Dias.”
Earlier this week I prayerfully prepared a sermon. But Friday as I was meditating and praying, I just felt the Spirit urge me to move in a different direction. And it really has to do with the election and the results and what may be in store for our leaders over the next few months and years.
And the issue is this: now that the election is over and we some newly elected leaders including our first African-American President-elect Obama. Now I know that there is varying opinions on not just the presidential candidates but other candidates. As I thought about this and I read through scripture, an idea kept coming up again and again for me.
I know most of us are glad its over. I know our mail carriers are glad because their loads just got fifty percent lighter. The ringer on our phone is glad its over. I would like to propose new legislation that political candidates be charged a flat rate tax on how many times each of our phones ring. However, it is really not over. It has really just begun.
So now that the people have decided, what is our response as followers of Jesus? Is it to just breathe a sigh of relief? Is it just to get back to our lives and let our elected officials do their thing? What should I be doing? What should I be thinking about? Where do we go from here? This is where God was really wrestling with me and I felt that we as a community of faith need to address this. We need to spend some time looking at what we need to do as a result of our elections.
I saw where some pastors were telling their parishioners who to vote for. Did you see that? Maybe I’m wrong here but that seemed to be a little too much like following a man (or a woman) than following Jesus. It also seemed a little arrogant and condescending as if the people of God can’t think for themselves and need to be told what to do. I may be oversimplifying and exaggerating so please forgive me and extend me the grace to me that I ironically am having trouble extending to others.
I have become convinced that we as followers of Jesus have a greater responsibility than to just cast our vote and go on. To be light, I think there more than just complaining because our candidate didn’t get the job or maybe because we think that they are all corrupt.
This is a critical time in our country. We have some monumental issues to face. And our leaders have no easy task. So how do we respond?
What I believe to be important for us as a body of believers comes out of a few scriptures. First there is Romans 13:1-7:
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
There is a second scripture that ironically came to mind from Matthew: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”