Politics and the Reign of God
They said to Samuel, "Appoint us a king to judge us like all the other nations"... and the Lord said to Samuel "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king" (I Samuel 8:5, 7)
Tomorrow is election day in the USA. Strong perspectives and emotions spill over into signage and angry confrontations. High hopes and strong fear mingle together in a potentially toxic and volatile mix. A sense of desperation floods media stories from all sides.
It might be good for the Church to remember that Jesus’ first message was “repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3.2). Disciples of Jesus are continually reminded that our first allegiance is to the Mysterious and Eternal One who ushered in a seemingly upside-down worldview where the “least, the last and the lost” take priority and grace becomes available to all. As Jesus hung on the cross, instead of words of condemnation and wrath toward the religious system and political authorities, he said, “Father, forgive them.”
In Old Testament days the people of Israel wanted to be like other nations with a King. They wanted someone who would bring order from the chaos of their lives. It is natural and needed in our day to have a government that organizes and looks after the best interests of people. In the United States we have a representative democracy, or some would say a democratic republic. By its very nature, our governmental system is a continual wrestling of power and perspective. As individuals, we do need to be active in the process. We run for office, we give voice to our concerns and we vote!
As I exercise my responsibility to participate in our governmental process, I do so understanding that humans aren’t perfect, leaders are people and no system of government is without weakness. I will pray, I will participate and I have voted! I have hopes and dreams for our country! Yet, my ultimate trust is in the Lord and the mysterious reign of God. No matter how voting turns out, no matter what the next four years may look like politically, I trust that God will see us through. May the reign of God continue to be ushered into our lives as individuals and as the Church so that we might demonstrate the Good News of God to the world.
Gracious God, help us to breath in your Spirit of Life today. Calm our anxieties, clear our minds of negativity and help us to trust in you. May we exude your peace and joy to our world as you give us the strength to be your witnesses. Through Christ we pray. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.