Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Time

I lead a Disciple Bible Study class and last night we were talking about Cyrus being used by God to return the exiled to their homeland. We discussed how Cyrus was anointed by God even though Cyrus didn't know God. (Isaiah 45:4-5) I led them to think about if/then thinking. For example, if God is bigger than any person, then God can work through anyone, even those who do not know God. Or, if only certain religions or people can be used by God or have the right understanding of God, then God is only as big as those religions or persons. Of course, if/then thinking only gets us so far and can be flawed, but it is useful to help us look on the other side of what we are saying.

We tend to get all worked up about elections whether this person or that person is right for the position. We pass judgment on whether this person or that person has enough experience for the position. (I personally feel that no one is ever fully prepared for that particular job! I don't care how long or little they have been in government.) Many get adamant about their candidate or party of choice, many even circulate hate-filled email that can only be viewed as NOT what Jesus would do, and many even go so far as to be distraught thinking the world will come to an end if their candidate is not elected. So, my question for you people is: Do you really believe that God is in control of your lives.

After all, we are truly only worried about those things that affect us. If this were not the case, then more people would be asking the candidates what their stance is on Darfur or peace in Israel/Palestine. We want to know where the candidate stands on the economy, the troops in Iraq, and other things that affect us much more closer to home. We worry about whether or not our taxes will be raised or whether we will have the same or better standard of living that we have become accustomed. That is not to say that these issues are somehow "less" than any others, but we do tend to be very concerned with how the election will affect our way of living more than how the election will affect the poverty levels in third world countries.

So, tomorrow, when election day comes and we all settle into our our comfortable recliners with a bowl of popcorn to armchair commentate on the results, remember God is in control. Someone's favorite person is going to lose and someone's is going to win. It doesn't mean that America is going to Hades in the proverbial hand basket, it simply means that we, God's people, should pray regardless of whether our candidate wins or not, because whoever is in the White House come next year, it is going to be a long bumpy ride and the wisdom of God will come in handy.

If we believe that God is in control and God is bigger than any person, then God can use anyone, even those we feel are about as opposite of our morals and values as anyone can get. God can bring healing to our land, which desperately needs it. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often quoted, but also often forgotten. "...if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

(I found this prayer on "Methoblog" written by Ken Carter and Elizabeth Graves)

Creator of us all:
you are the source of every blessing,
the judge of every nation
and the hope of earth and heaven.

We pray to you on the eve of this important and historic election.

We call to mind the best that is within us:

That we live under God,
that we are indivisible,
that liberty and justice extend to all.
We acknowledge the sin that runs through our history as a nation:

The displacement of native peoples, racial injustice,
desecration of your creation, economic inequity, regional separation.

And yet we profess a deep and abiding gratitude
for the goodness of ordinary people who have made sacrifices,
who have sought opportunities,
who have passionately loved and cared for the earth and its fruits,
who have journeyed to this land as immigrants
strengthening its promise in successive generations,
who have found freedom on these shores,
and defended this freedom at tremendous cost.

Be with us in the days that are near.
Remind us that your ways are not our ways,
that your power and might transcend the plans of every nation,
that you are not mocked.

Let those who follow your Son Jesus Christ
be a peaceable people in the midst of division.

Send your Spirit of peace, justice and freedom upon us,
break down the walls of political partisanship,
and make us one.

Give us wisdom to walk in your ways,
courage to speak in your name,
and humility to trust in your providence.