Warning: This is NOT a POLITICAL Rant or Reflection! I’m never surprised by how people react to what they either did not (or claim they did not) expect or want in an election! Forty-one years of ordained ministry have taught me that lesson. Were there parishioners and at least one other person who “walked-in” the church office to discuss their angers and fears about the election last week? Yes. Do I have my own strong suspicions that may explain what has happened? Yes, and I am more than happy to share them in any non-ecclesiastical forum – not here.
My responsibility (and love and ministry) as a pastor of souls impels me to remind any person who reads this to keep in mind certain truths by which we Christians must abide.
(1) Jesus confronted his Roman “judge” and told him: “My kingdom is not of this world”, and as Christians while we are citizens of the “city of man” (to quote St. Augustine), we are supposed to be primarily citizens of the City of God. Before all else, I am a disciple of Jesus and it is by Jesus I live my life.
(2) My faith is always in God and never in human structures or systems. And my faith teaches me that (hold it… bumper sticker time): God is in charge. The election or non-election of any individual will not frustrate God’s actions to redeem us through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. Come and study Acts of the Apostles with me on Tuesday nights and you will listen to the words of a member of the Sanhedrin who, when confronting this new Jesus movement, simply professed: “If this is of God, you cannot fight it. If it is not, it will fail.” God ultimately is always in charge whether we choose to live by this or not.
(3) Every loss has taught me something about myself (and yes, being a Mets’ fan, I have had my share of disappointments and losses; but more seriously, in years past, I was overlooked by parishes in search of a new rector or commissions in search of persons with my background and training). “What does one teach our children?” asked one parishioner. Unpleasant but truthful answer: sometimes even with all the best of intentions and qualifications and hopes and dreams, you lose! In the “city of man,” life is not fair. “You can’t always get what you want” – as the lyrics go. [c: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger] If we don’t prepare our children to face this truth, we are not preparing them for life.
(4) There is no permanence in life. Not really! Think about it. Policies will come, and change, and die, and get reborn by another name. “Rising Stars” and those who are so popular or strong today often find themselves ousted. The last infallible truth of life has passed away into history: The Cubs will always lose! The only thing that lasts forever is God’s love for you.
I have other thoughts I could raise, but that’s enough. Just a question for you: So as a Christian who is called “to wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ,” just what did you learn last week?