Our country is divided. It is not just division about who we are going to vote for. Our division goes far deeper than that. We are deeply divided about what we think is best for the country. Interestingly, what I have noticed is that both of the major political parties believe they are promoting what is best. Both would say that they have the right ideas. And yet, what each party thinks is best is often opposite from the other.
Our community is divided. If you drive around the community, you see the difference in the election signs people have in the yards. I think it is funny when neighbors have dueling election signs. We were recently driving in a neighboring school district, and you could see it very clearly. One yard had a bunch of signs for one party, and the next yard had a bunch for the other party. They were big signs too!
The division we feel is not just in our community or our neighbors. The division can even hit close to home. This week I saw one property that had dueling signs right next to each other in the same yard. I thought, “I wonder what is going on in that household?” And then it hit me…that’s probably the case in many households, and certainly in extended families! How many of you have family members that think differently from you? How many of you have family members that will vote differently than you? It’s true in my family too.
But the division doesn’t stop there. Some of us have a difference of opinion with ourselves! When it comes to voting, that is defined as being “undecided.” Maybe that describes you. Maybe you have an affinity with some aspects of one political party, while at the same time, you also have affinity with some aspects of the other party. Or you might be one of the people who feels inwardly torn because you can’t stand the fact that you are being told by some to vote for the lesser of two evils. What I’m describing is that you feel you are not of one mind within yourself. And I don’t say that in a negative way. You’re are wrestling with your own dueling thoughts, unsure of how to think about this.
There is one more way we see division. And this one can be really tough to deal with. We see division right here in our church family. In our church family we have people who think differently from one another. We have differences of opinion about what is best for our country. And we express those differences of opinion on election ballots.
Maybe some of you have already voted! In two days some of you will vote. My encouragement is that all of us who are eligible to vote, vote! I am not going tell you how to vote. If you want to talk about issues that you are wrestling with in this voting season, please comment below, and I would be glad to chat.
But if I am not telling how to vote, what is this Current Events sermon about?
What I want to try to answer is the question: What do we do AFTER we vote? How should those of us who claim to love Jesus, those of us who desire to follow his way with our thinking, our hearts and our actions, behave after the election?
Normally at some point on election night we know the results of the election. Probably not this year! In 2000 we also had to wait a long time to learn the results. Remember that one? A month-long series of legal battles led to the highly controversial 5–4 Supreme Court decision, Bush v. Gore, which ended the recount on December 10, 2000. The recount having been ended, Bush won Florida by 537 votes, a margin of 0.009%. Florida’s electoral votes pushed him over the top, into the presidency. Michelle and I were living in Kingston, Jamaica, during that time, and it sure was a strange thing to watch what was happening in our “passport country” while we lived in another country. The US election was big news there, too, and Jamaicans would tell us how amazed they were that violence had not broken out in our country as we waited for the results.
How long will we have to wait this year, especially since Covid has skyrocketed the amount of mail-in voting? Maybe it will be a few days or weeks, but will we have an election result.
You know what that means? There will be a winner and a loser. Because we have differences of opinion about the candidates, the election result means that some of you will be happy and some will be sad.
Think about that. In most church families, the result of the election will be very emotional for us. This will be my fourth presidential election as pastor of Faith Church; fifth, if I include my years as youth pastor. Each election I have heard very strong emotional sentiments within our church family. It doesn’t matter which year or which candidate; I’ve heard this about all of the candidates every election year: “If so and so is elected, it means the end of America.” Well, 18 years later, America is still here. And while America is divided, Christians, let us not be divided because, first and foremost, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. Our citizenship in heaven matters infinitely more than citizenship in any earthly nation, all of which are temporary. No matter who wins the presidential election, let us remember that Jesus Christ is our King, and we are part of the Body of Christ.
What does that mean, “The body of Christ?” Check back tomorrow, and the concept of the body of Christ is crucial to helping us learn how to handle ourselves after we vote.