Election Day

Election Day

It’s election day. We have seen way too much of politics. I am a political scientist by education. I am overdosing on politics.

I have cast my ballot. The polls don’t close for several hours. Vote counting, some say could go on for weeks.

Sometime ago I heard about two men in a church named Buddy and Ralph. Buddy was what history calls a “Yellow Dog Democrat.” He wouldn’t argue. The word “Republican” was usually an expletive.      

Ralph, is the opposite of Buddy. Ralph hates Democrats believing they are responsible for everything wrong in the world. Republicans are God’s chosen people. Democrats deserve prison or stoning.

You never saw the two of them together except at their church for worship. But, Ralph was in the choir and Buddy sat about two-thirds of the way back in the sanctuary.

They were both part of the men’s ministry. The Saturday meeting was usually the same, breakfast and work projects. Both Buddy and Ralph were faithful church members who would be on time for the meeting, and worked hard.

One Saturday, the men’s group gathered, had breakfast, and started on some of their projects. Some how, Buddy and Ralph ended up working together. The worst possible work partners ended up together. No one really knows exactly what happened but either Buddy or Ralph started talking politics. Things escalated. It became an all out war of words. Ralph grabbed Buddy by the shirt with fist drawn. Ralph suddenly realized what he was about to do, let Buddy go, and walked away. Both men immediately went home.

Politics. Not church politics, but national politics got between two dedicated Christians who were ready to go to blows over the occupant of the White House or something about who controlled Congress or some other such issue that when considered against who we are supposed to be is nothing more than foolishness. That’s our society, that is where we have gone. I would love to tell you that all this started four years ago. I would love to say it started 12 years ago, but it didn’t. It is sad and frightening.

Growing worse our my voting life, first is the rhetoric from those wanting our vote. Then commercials extolling their glory happens often but far more commercials go to the other candidates faults in vivid verbiage.

It’s sad that Buddy and Ralph seem to surround us. Throughout this election cycle there has been so much vitriol, hate and disregard for others it’s sad. Even among Christians we seem to have forgotten what Jesus said was most important?

Politics. We who are called to be people of love are fighting.  It is no wonder Washington gets little done.

God is working today. As people who know that, People of faith have an obligation to pray for our leaders, even those we don’t like. We owe them support. We can and should question their decisions. They should be held accountable for the decisions they make. It just means that we act in love, prayer, and support until what they say or do go against the word of God.

Israel wanted to elect a king. Listen to these verses from 1 Samuel. All the elders gathered with Samuel and said to him, “You are old, and your sons don’t follow your ways, appoint a king to lead our nation like other nations have.

When the elders asked for a king it upset Samuel, so he prayed. The Lord told him: “Listen to the people. They are rejecting me, not you, just as they have done since I brought them out of Egypt. So, go listen to them but warn them what the king will do to claim his rights over them.

Samuel told the elders all God had said, what the king would claim as his rights. Pull the sons into the army for battle, a percentage of crops. More of their sons and daughters who the king would claim as his servants. The best of their grain and cattle. Their daughters for wives and concubines.

Still, the people insisted on a king and God told Samuel to grant their request. (1 Samuel 8 selected verses, paraphrased by Keith Broyles)

I know, we aren’t electing a king, but a President. When all the counting is done, some of us will be happy with the result. Others are concerned that the country will be on the verge of collapse.

Over our 245-year history of our country we have elected 44 presidents and had another that was never actually elected by the people. In the 44 who held the office thus far we have had good presidents and not so good presidents. Through both good times and bad, our country has survived each.

Will President Trump be considered a good president or a bad president?  Would a President Biden be a good or a bad president? Only time will tell. Will our country survive President Trump? Would the country survive a President Biden? Nobody knows for sure. We only know such things through the light of history.

I would, however, say this to you, based on our history, I think we will survive as a nation. The United States has shown again and again in our history, we are stronger than one person.

In another four years, regardless of who wins today, we will again have the opportunity to have our say regarding who our next leader shall be.

When the counting is done, some of us will be happy. Some of us will not be. I can’t say who will be happy and who won’t. Regardless of who we feel good about right now, we may learn sometime down the road that they messed up, perhaps a little, perhaps a light. We may see that we were right. We may see that others were right.

Perhaps we should remember these words from 1 Peter 4, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

I first voted in a presidential election in 1976. I don’t remember who got my vote, Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter. I do know this, at some point in both their presidency’s I was disappointed in their job. I have been disappointed in everyone who has lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington D.C. since I started voting. Sometimes I was happy when they were elected. Some I wasn’t. I can honestly tell you, at some point, I was happy with all of them, even if I didn’t like them initially. Why? They are all human. They will make mistakes. They will disappoint us.

If your happiness, your joy rests on who wins this election, you are in trouble before they or you even begin. We need to find joy in the one who gives us light and life. Find your joy in the one who made you unique, special, and passionate. Find your passion and use your time and energy to fill that passion. Put your energy into being who God made you to be. And think about this. If President Trump is re-elected in four years, he won’t be. If former Vice-President Biden is elected in four or eight years, he will no longer be President. Presidents come and go. God is always with us.

No matter who wins this election, God is still God and God is still in charge. At the end of the day, I want my faith to always be with God, and place my faith not in the promises of a politician but in God’s promises and to be the person God created me to be.

Friends, I pray I never see or hear about two Christians that are so wrapped up in and even warped by politics to the point even to be civil seems impossible. Instead may we all remember what Peter wrote, “Love one another. Deeply, as love covers a multitude of sin.” Just maybe, that love will cover our sin and those we respect as well as those we elect.

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