What’s a Methodist Christian to do?

I became an unaffiliated voter (or independent voter, as I like to call it) soon after coming to my first appointment as a pastor. In part, it was because I had church members who were heavily involved in partisan politics—both sides—and I took seriously the notion of trying to be pastor to all. Another reason is because I have always looked to vote for a person, not a political party, based on the merits I see in that person.

That said, this has been a particularly bitter and ugly election, the worst I have ever seen in my 42 years of voting, and I am disgusted (to put it mildly). I am disgusted that we have fallen so low as a nation in our values that it seems we have put aside decency and fairness. I am disgusted that “big money” from corporate, so called “PACs” and other interests seems to be running the show. I am disgusted over how truth gets twisted and turned for political advantage, and good people get put down and labeled by false- hood. I am disgusted over the deep divisions and wounds that have been opened across our land over recent election cycles. And I am disgusted that this is where we as a people and a great nation find our- selves, and it is so wrong in my humble opinion. Sadly, instead of our best, we are seeing humanity at its worst! That bothers me! Does it bother you?

Friends, there is another reason I shall always work to keep partisan politics out of the church I serve. Yes, we are citizens of the United States of America, but through Jesus Christ we are made “citizens of the Kingdom.” When this election is over, we will still have to live together, worship and serve
together. We will still will have to work to make our community the caring place God calls it to be. We will still have to live by faith in a great and righteous God. Right or wrong, whether our candidates win or lose, we know there is a lot of healing and coming together that will need to happen.

Where do you think that starts? It starts with us, all of us, especially when we take to heart Paul’s words about living a life “worthy of our calling.”

John Wesley, the “father of Methodism,” offered some timely advice some 250 years ago. He wrote “I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them: 1) To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged the most worthy; 2) To speak no evil of the person they voted against; and 3) To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

Good words, don’t you think?

As the votes are being counted on Election Day, what better place for us to come as “kingdom people” than to the table of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the place where Christ welcomes all? That evening at 7:00, we will gather in the sanctuary to feast together, not as partisans of the world, but as brothers and sisters in faith. May we come together in the love of Christ.

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