As a seminary student, I am required to take courses in preaching – both academic classes and lab classes. After reading several “Christian” responses to last Tuesday’s elections, both those lamenting the loss for the Republicans and those celebrating the victory for the Democrats, I have decided to post an excerpt of a sermon that I preached in class last week.
Have we allowed the things that we know about Jesus, things that we know about the Gospel, to change the way that we live? Does the fact that Jesus has made peace between God and us lead us to try to live peacefully with the people around us? … Do we say that our first allegiance is to Christ but then care more about elections and who controls the House and Senate (and our tax rates) than we do about our brothers and sisters being killed for the high crime of faith in Jesus? Do I preach sermons about putting faith into action and then go home and do none of it?
Great government doesn’t happen when “Christians make their voice heard” for either political party in the United States. Lives are not changed by people who “vote values”. “Culture wars” are not won at the ballot box. Our allegiance isn’t to pundits on the right or on the left (or in the center). We are not allowed to hate George Bush or Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney or Howard Dean, Donald Rumsfeld or John Kerry. When Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” he doesn’t follow it up with “because conservatism will triumph in the end” (ala a popular radio host) or with “because we progressives truly understand the kingdom” (ala an outspoken author and magazine publisher). No, Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” The object of faith is Jesus.
10Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.