02 November 2008

Elections and the church

The following is the text of a brief talk I'll be giving in my church this morning. If you like what it has to say (with the potential exception of specific denominational references, depending on your flavor of church), feel free to borrow excerpts for your own house of faith, especially the final paragraph. And one reference note - the phrase at the end is from RFK, quoting Aeschylus (and although this phrase is popularly attributed to that Greek tragedian, it has actually never been found in any of his extant works).

I’d like to take just a couple of minutes this morning to talk about the upcoming election. Because after all, you haven’t heard enough about the election yet, right?

Here’s a quick exercise, and at the end of it I expect all of you to have your hands in the air (even though we’re Methodists). How many of you have already voted? Great! Keep your hands up. Now, how many of the rest of you are certain that you will vote on Tuesday? Excellent.

OK, you can put your hands down now. I said that I expected everyone to have their hands in the air because I believe that we, as faithful Christians, have a solemn responsibility to exercise our civic duty by participating in our nation’s electoral process. Given our recent history of elections, no one can say that your individual vote doesn’t matter.

Along with this duty to participate is an equally important duty to be informed, to use your God-given intellect to make reasoned choices. To that end, I have a stack of copies of the United Methodist Church’s voter guide, as published by the Board of Church and Society. Unlike some of the other voter guides floating around other churches this morning, this guide specifically does not endorse any candidate or party. What it does do is set forth the United Methodist Church’s official positions on a variety of issues, drawing from published statements such as the Social Principles and the Book of Resolutions, and compares these with official statements from the platforms of the two major political parties. You can pick up a copy in the narthex on your way out today.

And finally, along with our responsibility to be informed participants, we have what I consider to be an even greater task. Come Wednesday there will be electoral winners and losers, joy and sadness, celebration and resentment. I believe that we, as people of faith, must take the lead in helping bring our nation back together after this election season. As Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” So I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, regardless of who you support, regardless of who receives your vote, and regardless of who wins or loses, at the end of the day let us come together as one people, let us bind up each other’s hurts, and let us move forward in prayer for our new political leaders. Let us work to reunify this nation that God, for a time, has entrusted to us, and let us, by our words and deeds, do our part to make gentle the life of this world. Thank you.

1 comment:

Jeff P said...

I like the quote.