This past Sunday, I shared my response to the recent presidential election. It had been almost 2 weeks since America had voted, which, I think, was a good thing. Time and distance help give perspective and much-needed balance.
Because many of you would not have heard me share my thoughts, and because some of you might want to consider again what I had to say, here is the gist of what I shared at Fern Creek Christian, post-election:
I didn’t stay up Election Night to see who had won. My need for sleep outweighed my need to find out the results, state-by-state. But, whether you found out at 3am, or 6am, or 9 or noon, all of us had a reaction. In this regard, we’re no different than any one else; people all over our country, and all over the world, had a reaction.
But more important than our reaction, is our response. A reaction happens in the moment; a reaction is determined by circumstances.
A response, however, isn’t determined by circumstances, but by who we are. And who we are is the Church: the people of God; the body of Jesus Christ; the family united in One Spirit. That’s our identity.
So, no matter what your reaction is to last week’s election, let me frame what I think should be our response as followers of Jesus:
- Presidents come and go. Good, bad, or somewhere in the middle; presidents don’t last forever.
- Jesus, however, does. He is the same yesterday, today, forever (Hebrews 13.8).
- Jesus didn’t get all that worked up about politics. In Luke 13.31-32, the Pharisees come and tell Jesus that King Herod is trying to kill him. Jesus doesn’t panic; he doesn’t even change his plans. Instead, in essence, he responds: You tell that fox that I’m on a mission, and nothing will deter me from it. Simply put: Jesus was not deterred by political OR religious leaders from fulfilling his calling.
- That calling? To lovingly seek and save the lost, giving his life for ALL people.
- Jesus is in charge of the Church, so guess what we’re going to continue to do? Reach people with Jesus’ love, and point them to the kingdom of God.
- And because every one needs Jesus, the Church is a place for everyone. Democrats are welcome, and Republicans. Independents, too. Folks born in Louisville. Folks born in other states. And folks born in other countries.
Last week, I attended the International Conference on Missions. While there, I attended a workshop led by a guy whose church has an active ministry to folks from Myanmar who have settled in their area. Other folks in that session chimed in, discussing their church’s outreach to foreign-born folks in their communities. It was very encouraging to hear.
And then a young woman raised her hand, and said: “I’m a first-generation refugee.” Tears formed in her eyes as she recalled her experience: “People were cruel to me when I got here,” she told us.
But she responded to what she had heard in that room: It’s encouraging to see a roomful of people who care.
Is that not the Church? A roomful – a family – of people who care? We follow Jesus, and, as Preston Sprinkle has pointed out: Jesus didn’t do a background check before he chose to love others.
So, the church where I serve is not a reactive church. Which means: our first calling isn’t to get sucked into “reactionary” conversations, especially with those who don’t know Jesus.
Instead, let’s be a responsive church; where our response to the love and grace of Jesus that WE have experienced, is to share that with Every One.
There will always be people in power, and they’ll use power how they see fit. We should pray for them, and hold them accountable when they go outside of the appropriate use of power.
But the Power of Love is what changes lives. And nothing can change that. So, no matter what happens in Washington, or Frankfort, or City Hall – for good or for ill – the Church should never budge from using the power it has. That power? It’s simply the power of the love of Jesus. Working in us, and through us. Reaching out. To Every One.