Today is the day people will go to the polls. Some have described this as the most important election in our history. Of course, that phrase has been said every presidential election.
People are going to vote for candidates, against candidates, for their party, against the other party. People are voting looking forward to a change. Others are voting as a way to cement what is happening.
And then night will come. And we will go to sleep. And rise the next day. Wednesday comes regardless of who wins and who loses. Regardless of how happy or sad we are. Regardless of anything we do or believe. Wednesday comes.
And so many will be surprised to hear that the 2020 presidential campaign starts on Wednesday. The fact is that in America, politics doesn’t take time off. It puts itself in front and center. It sucks all the oxygen out of the room. Politics knows no boundaries.
People are expecting that regardless of the results, their anxiety level will be able to go down for a while. Except it won’t. Politics won’t let it. Politics will only ramp up the anxiety level. It needs to in order to keep our attention on politics. Politics sees itself as a god. It expects us to worship at its altar and make sacrifices to it. Politics is a harsh master.
While we have a choice today as to what our government will look like, the bigger choice comes tomorrow when we wake up. For those of us who claim the label as a follower of Jesus, will we act like a disciple of Jesus? Will we take the words Jesus tells us and do them? Will we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, visit the sick and those in prison? Will we pray for our enemies?
Or will we decide that Jesus doesn’t know what he was talking about and continue to live in fear, anger, and anxiety – blaming and scapegoating others? Will we continue to worship at the altar of politics? Will we offer verbal attacks and insults to our opponents? Will we dehumanize the other? Will we put blinders on so we don’t see Jesus in the other? Will we replace Jesus with the idol of politics?
What identity will we embrace or be embraced by? Child of God or partisan hack?
Will we pray for those we disagree with, or will we prey on them?
Who will we be disciples of? Jesus, or someone else? A disciple listens to their teacher, follows their commands, adopts their beliefs, and lives according to their master’s way of living.
Today we vote. Tomorrow we decide who and whose we are. My prayer is this – that those who claim to follow Jesus actually start doing just that. You want to see the nation change – that’s how it happens. It starts with you. And me. Living what we claim to believe, without excuse. It starts by recognizing that our salvation comes through God, not any politician, party, ideology, amount of money, power, or might. It starts by encountering God in our lives – seeing God active in our lives and in the lives of others, especially those we don’t like.
God has already started. Let those who have ears hear. Let those who have eyes see.