A Message of Hope from Bishop Todd
We voted separately—in little, individual booths. This is one of the great political gifts of a democratic republic. Without fear of reprisal, with no one looking over our shoulder, we get to speak our mind regarding who we wish to lead us.
This was a stress-filled election cycle, and we’re experiencing additional anxiety as we wait for the election results. In the days to come, we must learn to live together. This is true if your candidate appears to be winning or losing. It is true if the election results bring you relief and joy, or anxiety and depression.
This morning, the path to unity is not obvious. Many Americans, fearing our fractures are too deep, no longer believe it is possible for us to jell or mesh together. That same scenario is now, sorrowfully, playing out in the Church. If the terms for unity are set by the leaders and maneuverings of political parties, there is little hope.
But we have another place to look for optimism, for a rationale and practices for the human flourishing implicit in social unity. That place is in the person of Jesus and the kingdom movement he fomented.
- Jesus said of himself: I am gentle and humble in heart (Mt. 11:29).
- Paul picks up on Christlikeness as the way of being for his followers: In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Phil. 2:3,4).
- Jesus further said: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27,28). Paul says of himself: I am not seeking my own good but the good of many…(1 Cor. 10:33).
- James encourages us to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord (James 4:10).
- Peter urges us to be clothed with humility (1 Peter 5:5).
These bits of scripture represent the relational vision and social ethic of the New Testament. It is rarely attempted. But we, participants in the Jesus-movement, are called to live into it. There are opportunities to do so every day in our families, churches and communities.
Let’s start today, regardless of continued election uncertainty. Maybe our modest obedience can create a snowball effect that catches up into it all the people and events of our lives. May we live our lives for the sake of others, and especially for the most vulnerable—those whose agency wanes or is challenged, and who therefore need someone to labor, humbly and selflessly, for their good.
Grace and peace,