I love to vote. The year I turned 18 was an election year, and I drove 2.5 hours from college to my hometown just so I could vote in the presidential election for my first time. I appreciate the right to vote. I think voting is, not a perfect system, but a strong one. As a woman, voting is an especially cherished right. When I think about women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, and others who organized, were imprisoned, and in some cases died fighting for women’s suffrage - you can bet I’m damn well gonna vote.
We vote all kinds of ways: on ballots, with dollars, by participation. Some we are conscious of, some are tacit. This is human economy. This is a system of government generations of people, people we know and love, have defended to the death, mostly with honor and courage and good intentions. I’m grateful that I live in a relatively safe society (tragic events of this weekend notwithstanding, we are generally safer than, say, Syria), a relatively free one, a relatively functional one, a relatively just one; thanks to the blood, sweat, and tears of those women and men who came before me and stand around me. I think we collectively are grateful.
We’re grateful, but everyone seems worried lately. 49 people were gunned down this last weekend, which is worrisome to say the least. We are worried or angry or both. One group is worried that Trump is going to be elected president. Another group is worried that Hillary Clinton will be elected. The other group is worried by the idea of either candidate arriving in the White House as one of the most powerful politicians on the planet, potentially causing the whole voting-economy-government system to crumble. We're convinced that someone is going to send us all to hell in a handbasket.
I’m tempted to worry too. I’m tempted to stew on my bafflement. I’m tempted to judge and condemn people with whom I disagree. I’m tempted to stop trusting in Jesus and start trusting in a politician or political party or system of government to save me from my fate of brokenness, war, poverty, sickness, consumerism, greed, hatred, and power-hunger. I’m tempted to bury my head, withhold my vote, stop reading news and interacting with people, and indulge in false consolation. I’m tempted to get stuck in anger.
But here’s the thing: I don’t think there’s any voting in the Kingdom of God. I think the best system we’ve come up with for governing human beings doesn’t even come close to the goodness of God. I think our best attempts at a fair and functional economy cannot compare with the gold standard of the currency of God, which is Gracious Love. I think we cannot even conceive of the Justice of God, and our best imitation of it is only a shadow, subject to corruption. I think the best political leaders the world has ever seen will bow before Jesus along with the rest of us when he comes.
I wonder if there’s another way for me aside from worry and anger. I wonder if there is a way to walk on top of murky waters. I wonder if there’s anything I can do that might be helpful. I wonder if there’s an alternative to despair.
If you are worried and wondering too, I invite you to pray with me.
Maker of All Things, we invite You now
into our feelings of discomfort, confusion, anger, fear, and worry
over How Things are Going to Be.
We are reminded:
That Jesus did not resist the political regime of his time,
but instead preached the Kingdom of God.
That Jesus did not condemn or punish,
but instead healed, fed, traveled, talked, and ate meals with people.
That Jesus did not worry,
but instead prayed when he was troubled.
We acknowledge that human leaders are flawed.
We acknowledge that human systems fall short.
We acknowledge that hardship is always present this side of eternity.
We acknowledge that Jesus will save the world.
Not a politician. Jesus.
Not a judge. Jesus.
Not a celebrity or even a pastor. Jesus.
We acknowledge that Jesus has already begun that work;
In us, with us, through us, Jesus is saving the world.
We acknowledge that the Kingdom of God is expanding, unstoppable.
We ask for Your Gracious Love.
We ask for wisdom and compassion.
We ask for strength and courage to do our best work for Your kingdom, work that will last.
We ask for goodness and mercy to follow us all the days of our lives.
We ask for our faith to grow.
We set aside worry; instead we take up grace and peace, which You offer abundantly.
We put our hope in Jesus Christ, and in His kingdom.
We give thanks that our future is safe in Your hands.