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Wednesday morning the most contentious political election in our lifetime will be over. Both campaigns predict dire consequences if their candidate isn’t elected, but I’m not buying it. That isn’t to say it doesn’t matter who wins. But it doesn't matter nearly as much as we think.
Regardless of who is elected, we need to be reminded of what won’t be changing. First, King Jesus will still be on the throne. Second, our purpose doesn’t change. We need to tell the Jesus story, care for the vulnerable, advocate for justice, protect God’s creation, speak truth and be people of high moral character. In short, live Christianly. We can do all these things regardless of who is in the White House, governor’s mansion or city hall.
Our hope is not in a candidate or party; it is in Jesus and his church. We follow in the tradition of the earliest Christians who lacked access to political power and didn’t think it was a problem.
When Jesus commented on the politics of his day, he didn’t say the problem was Roman rule. Instead he said the problem was the failure of Israel to act like the people of God. Jesus never told his disciples to seize control of the political system. They expected it, but he refused, even when some wanted to put him in charge. Instead, he pointed them to God.
How did it work out? Historians tell us that in the days, months and years after Jesus, the early Christians had a strategy. It wasn’t to organize into a first century “moral minority.” Instead they told everyone they met the good news of Jesus and invited them into a relationship with him. They practiced an ethic of love, cared for the poor and valued everyone including slaves, women, children (including the unborn) and the immigrant. And within 300 years the Christian church was the largest, fastest growing religious movement in the ancient world.
At City Church we will be the church, not a political action committee. We will teach the Bible not be driven by issues. We expect a diversity of views and recognize that neither party has a platform we can fully embrace or a candidate we will be perfectly happy with (because Jesus isn’t on the ballot). And we will focus on changed lives not changed policies. Whether the “right” or “wrong” candidate is in office, little will change about what we’re called to live out as Christians.
The Bible tells us to respect (Romans 13), obey (Titus 3) and pray (1 Timothy 2) for our leaders whether we agree with them or not. Whatever happens next week, let’s not give in to fear but be people of faith, hope and love.