Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Living as People of Faith in an Election Season
An election, particularly a national election as tight as this year’s promises to be, highlights the deep partisan divisions inherent in our particular two-party political system. We are confronted with the reality that we live as a deeply polarized people, often divided clearly into two camps of political opinion.
To read more about Election Day Communion, including links to articles and background on the movement, go to www.electiondaycommunion.org
This reality of division is particularly troublesome for people of Christian faith, who are called to unity despite difference, allegiance to God over any nation, loyalty to Christ over any candidate, commitment to the body of Christ over any political party, hope in the resurrection of Christ over that promised or provided by any temporal power or person.
Easier said than done. This election season, you will see many Christians from both the right and left use religious faith and conviction to push you toward a particular candidate, a particular political party, a particular platform. Don’t fall for it. You’re smarter than that, and as a follower of Jesus, you’re called to something better.
You are a member of the body of Christ – that means your ultimate allegiance, hope, and identity rest in Christ. The Scriptures tell us that kings and kingdoms (powers, principalities, nations, rulers, politicians, and parties, if you will) will all pass away, but the name of the Lord endures forever. No nation, candidate, form of government, or political party is the hope of the world – that position is already taken by Jesus. And as a member of his body, you are already joined together as One – whether you want to admit it or not – with all other members of the body, even if they live in a different place, even if they voted for the other guy.
This election season, I encourage you to get involved. Study the issues. Get to know the candidates and what they stand for. Vote your choice freely and with a clear conscience. But on November 6 and after, regardless of the result, know that Jesus is still Lord, and you are still joined with others in the body whose preferences may be different than your own. Nevertheless, they are not your enemy. They are your brother or sister in Christ.
The world will know that we are Christians by our love, not by our voting record.
On election day, many Christians around the country are joining together to show their unity in Christ trumps their political preferences. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, Protestant mainliners and Evangelicals, will come together, shed their difference of opinion, and participate in Election Day Communion, remembering that their first allegiance is to Christ and the other members of Christ’s body. I find this to be a beautiful expression of the body of Christ coming together to celebrate who we are and WHOSE we are.
Locally, Election Day Communion will be celebrated at Renovatus Church in Charlotte and Covenant United Methodist Church in Gastonia (where my good friend, Paul Brown is the pastor). If you would like to participate in Election Day Communion, contact either congregation to find out the details of the event.