Hello Church Family, this is Pastor Phil-
Even with the results of the election being called-ish, it doesn’t feel over. No matter who you voted for it doesn’t feel like there’s any real winners in this election. There are still counts, recounts, legal battles, and it all feels like the hanging chad debacle of 2000 with Gore and Bush. And of all of the millions and millions of dollars spent, countless words and posts, unmitigated resentment and anger, what was it all for anyways, really? In 20 years how much will it be remembered? Was it worth the hurt, anger, broken relationships and even broken lives that were spent on it?
But the issues and the fate of the country!
All of that is important. But wait, and this is hard to hear and even hard for me to say. The United States of America will not last forever. Our wonderful country will one day be no more. The same is true of Russia and China, Africa and the United Arab Emirates, Scotland and Germany and any other geo-political institution in existence. Empires have risen and fallen, and empires will continue to rise and fall, from the beginning of our history to the end of creation, this is true. Our country, like our own lives, and the institutions that we enjoy and are a part of are all part of this temporal existence and will come to an end, sooner or later, in our lifetimes or not. None of this remains.
Consider this passage from Pastor Peter’s letter to the church in 2 Peter 3:8-13.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
I love that question Peter asks of Christians: “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness?” How do we answer that?
First of all, the word “dissolved” is really important. It comes from the Greek work λύω, which means to unleash, unbind so something no longer holds together, and release what has been held back. When God’s Word uses this description, it’s not so much a picture of utter destruction, but of undoing. For the knitters and crocheters out there. Like pulling on the end of the yarn and watching all of the work dissolve in your hand. This image does not give us the idea that this creation is bad and will be destroyed or punished. Instead, this is a good creation which will be undone so that it can be remade into the new creation God has planned for us. This also means that you and me and the people around us are not bad—but are part of God’s good creation as well.
Next, taking that information that what we live within, from the institutions, to our country, to our planet, to all of creation, all of it will one day be undone by God and remade into something new. Knowing that what kind of life are you to live as Christians and God’s children here and now? Probably, one of the most important aspects of that statement is perspective. What in this election season was worth killing, dying, threatening, hurting, injuring, or estranging other people for? In 100 years or 1,000 or maybe even a month or two, how much will it matter when compared with eternity? There has not been one government, power, authority, or election result in all of history and there won’t be in any of human history that will threaten God’s plans for Creation and His beloved Children. Not one, ever.
So, how are we to live?
- First, trusting our Heavenly Father, who has held creation from the beginning and will continue to hold it until it is renewed. Nothing will get in God’s way for the Redemption of creation and His people.
- Second, in trusting our Heavenly Father, don’t get confused about what matters most here and now, especially at this time during American politics. Instead, recognize that all (and any) of our elected officials are people, just like us. They are not God, they cannot change God’s plans, they are not anyone’s Savior. They are sinful broken people like we are sinful broken people, just like you and me. So, the same command to love each other as Christ has loved you, applies to them and especially to the ones you don’t agree with.
- As Christians, pray for all of our elected officials. Both previous and current and the ones to come. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…” I Timothy 2:1-3
- Finally, love each other.
I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago who was frustrated with how much she couldn’t be involved in. She has a couple of kids and one on the way, working full-time and trying to catch glimpses of her husband every so often. Social activism, the environment, her Church, and politics are all really important to her and she was frustrated that she couldn’t be involved like she used to be. She was also afraid she was setting a bad example for her kids by not being as involved anymore. After talking a while (and, yes, I have permission to share this story), I pointed her to her kids and asked, what’s going to make the biggest difference in the world, if you’re (a) at a political rally or (b) at home with them reading them a story?
The only one who really can change hearts and minds is Jesus, but we can be and are called to be His hands and feet, his representative to all people, to share and show what His love looks like because it is His love that will remain when everything else is undone.