Faith, Distraction, Politics

This tumultuous political season in the US is over. Two fighting candidates, two fighting parties, a divided country. And the worst of it? Church members growing to dislike, chastise, criticize and condemn people with different political values. On the last point, I am sure that Satan is laughing really hard about it. After all, creating division is his specialty. And so, it’s really unfortunate that a lot of us bought into it. It was sometimes so emotional and upsetting, I couldn’t completely resist getting into the debate myself.

I want the country to continue to be great, I want better health care, I want safer streets, I want updated infrastructure. So, I think I want all the same things Trump has said that he will do. And I hope his promises are fulfilled in ways that bring more people together and create more opportunity. He, and his closely affiliated political party, have an opportunity to enact policy in the way they believe will bring about greater prosperity, more safety and an enhanced sense of well-being for the US. I hope Mr. Trump is successful, and I can’t imagine what will happen if he is not, or if some of the worst fears come true.

It does not matter who the President is. Not really. Not when you think about eternity. Not when you think about just how small the Earth is compared to the universe. Not when you think about the truth we are all one giant meteor strike away from oblivion. Not when you think about the fact that within fifty years or so, most everybody who is alive now will be dead (more other people will be alive, I hope, but not most of us living now). Not when you think about the hope and truth that what really matters is loving people fully and deeply despite life circumstances.

God in His infinite wisdom isn’t asking us to make a profession of faith in a candidate, or a planet or a thing of any material worth. He is asking us to enter into a relationship with Himself. That is to say that all the political rambling in the last few months has simply fulfilled a simple purpose that was not God’s — I was often drawn away from Him by spending more time reading the news than His word, spending more time debating social policy than focusing on genuine Love, and a whole list of other distractions that kept me — and so many others — from what mattered the most. Him.

I was harshly reminded in my devotions not too long ago, Mark 4:18-19 (NRSV) “And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing.” Ouch.

It’s easy, isn’t it, to deny or ignore the thorns? It’s easier to wear tougher outer layers, right? Perhaps even cloak our faith in the armor of being correct politically? Or the armor of being better than someone else? Or the armor of being more chosen than someone else?

As a country, and as Christians, we’re too often ready to call those thorns beautiful flowers instead of what they really are: A warning.

So my prayer is this. Lord, help me cast off the thorns, and bring me back to the fertile soil. Help me to see the truth of the world around me. And bring back, too, Lord, all who have fallen away from the path of seeking your Mercy and you Justice. Help me exemplify your sacrificial Love. Help us, Lord, be reconcilers. Help us, Lord, to see with your eyes, hear with your ears and to love with your heart.