This is it. Today we vote. The tension, anticipation and stress leading up to today has been palpable. We are a divided country. Gone are the days when people worked for the common good. Now it feels like every person for themselves. We do not know who might win the races we vote for. But one thing is for certain, some people will see their candidates win and others will not. There may be anger, disappointments, and perhaps worse. But here are some things to think about.
We have received grace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But that grace is not ours to hoard. It is ours to give to others. We have a choice this week. We can be sore losers if our candidate doesn't win. We can gloat if ours does. But how much better a place will this be if win or lose, we show each other grace. We can agree to disagree but that does not give us license to hate, belittle or attack someone else because of their beliefs.
We have also received the gift of peace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His peace is the peace that passes all human understanding. This is not peace like the world might offer. This is the real deal. This is peace so complete we cannot make ourselves be afraid. There is some out and out panic in this country right now. Once again, the shelves in stores are empty of paper products, cleaning supplies and disinfectant. Because people are afraid. So many have aligned themselves with the king who will inhabit the Oval Office that if their king is not elected, they will have no hope. That leads to no peace. And it means they do not know their ultimate identity lies in the fact they are beloved sons and daughters of Jesus Christ. That is always our true identity...always.
Jesus gave us the gift of mercy. Mercy is defined as compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. All of us have the ability to harm someone else, whether physically or with our actions or words. Words are powerful weapons and sometimes we are reckless with those weapons. Once we speak words, we cannot take them back. We might apologize but the damage has already been done. How many of us have spoken without thinking and said something that hurt another? Taking those words back is like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube. Instead of harming someone, what would it look like if we showed compassion instead...not pity but compassion. What if we genuinely tried caring for someone who looks at the world differently than we do. Like it or not, we are more alike than we might want to admit.
Love as a gift comes to mind too. Not romantic love but love that says we are in this together. Love that says where might we find common ground. Love that says let's work together, setting ourselves aside to make the world a better place for everyone. Jesus calls us to love one another as He has loved us. There was no name calling, no finger pointing, no divide and conquer in the way Jesus's treated people. There was a place for everyone, regardless of where they had come from, their station in life or the amount of influence they might or might not have. How might we love those who are different than we are?
In Mark chapter three we see Jesus, surrounded by a mob of people who want to see Him, touch Him, hear Him and be healed by Him. After a full day of this activity Jesus went up on a mountain. Mountains in scripture are always places of revelation. It was on this mountain that Jesus appointed His twelve disciples. Later scribes from Jerusalem accused Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebub...in other words the evil one. Jesus responded with words that are pertinent for today. He said, ”If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
We have serious challenges in front of us as a nation. We can either pull together or pull ourselves apart. We can work together, or we can work at cross purposes. And people will lay blame and say we cannot work together because we are too different in our beliefs. We call ourselves Christians. That means we follow Christ's leading. We have a great opportunity in front of us to show the nation and the world what it truly means to be followers of the One, true king...Jesus Christ. Not a king who is elected but one who has always been king. The King. The king of kings and the Lord of lords. But we may have to set ourselves aside to do that. Are we willing to do that? Or do we want things to go on as they have the last few weeks? It is up to us...not to change the world, but our corner of it...in Jesus name.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W