Five Things every church MUST do after the election
By now nearly everyone should be sick and tired, weary and worn from the political slashing and bashing in the…
By now nearly everyone should be sick and tired, weary and worn from the political slashing and bashing in the aftermath of the election. If you’re not, there may be something wrong with you, or you’ve successfully avoided reality.
Churches across this divided nation have a special responsibility and opportunity this weekend.
Worship lifts our sights and closes our mouths for a bit. When Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, he felt undone and saw with clarity how he and his people had unclean lips. It humbled him. And it resulted in him humbly serving: “Here I am. Send me.”
Job had so many painful problems to deal with. When he finally recognized the greatness of God, that epiphany led him to put his hand over his mouth which had been running non-stop.
But worship doesn’t leave us mute. It draws out of us the praise and confession and repentance and lament and adoration and thankful song that was stuffed down and covered over by our clouded minds.
This weekend churches can do so much to heal hearts, and reset minds. Regardless of one’s politics, here is what needs to happen in churches across this divided land:
- Acknowledge the unrest, because it’s real, it’s deep, and it’s hard. There is fear, worry, anger, sadness and outright division in our country, and in our church fellowship. This is a tender time, and we need to create a true sanctuary, a refuge from the storm. However one feels about the outcome of the election – some are glad, some are sad — by now there are heightened emotions in its aftermath. Not even those who we might expect to be glad are now angry at the unhappy reception of their candidate. It has heightened other adversarial conversations about race, religion, and politics until nearly everyone is upset. We need to acknowledge all that, because it is a way of validating people’s stories and fears and saying it’s okay to bring all that to God – lament, rejoicing, confession, anger. If we can’t begin here, it doesn’t feel like a sanctuary.
- Demonstrate our unity as we come together. Of all the demonstrations across this land, the most powerful will be Jesus followers coming together as one, across lines of politics and party affiliation. As we gather, sing, pray, share in Communion, and come beneath the Word together as a body, we demonstrate to ourselves and a divided world we are one in Christ. It’s time to stop campaigning and pick up the banner of Christ, holding it up together with those who don’t look, act, think, or feel like you do right now. There is healing in that.
- Remember our identity. Because some of us have forgotten who we are first and foremost. We’ve become reduced to our positions, ideas, and political camps. When we gather for worship, we are not primarily blacks or whites, Latinos or Asians, men or women, old folk or millennials. And we are not primarily Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or progressives. Our fundamental identity is that we are God’s people. Psalm 100 reminds us:
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
We are HIS. So enter his gates with thanks and praise, and remember we are all his people. Let the worship of God reorient our thinking so that as we depart we can seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, and our lives will more closely resemble the One who sent us. We are God’s people. It’s who we are.
- Place our hope in God. Because it’s fairly obvious from the extreme anxiety that for many of us, our hope is misplaced. It is time to anchor our hope in the living God, who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is considered a trite truism that some resent, but it is absolutely, 100% true and is probably the most needed corrective in this whole situation: no matter who is in the Oval Office, Jesus is on the throne. No matter who is in the White House, we need to come into God’s House to say, “Jesus is Lord.” “Be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart, all you who put your hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24). Until we stop placing our hope in our desired version of the Empire, we are betting on horses and chariots. Temporarily and eschatologically, that is a losing proposition. Let us lay down our idols, allowing that we have put too much stock in this political outcome. It matters, but not as much as we think. Worship of God is where we can safely and confidently take our tattered hopes and pin them squarely where they belong – on the strong shoulders of Jesus – the one of whom it is said, the government is on his shoulders.
- Call to action. Because some of us are saying more than we are doing. Whether glad or sad about the outcome of the election, the danger is the same – that we are primarily interested in what someone else is or isn’t doing. At Mountain, this will mean recognizing that there has never been a more important time for US to Unleash Love. And that is not something that will happen without sacrificial commitment to the mission of God, doing the hard work of being and making disciples of Christ. There is justice to fight for, life to fend for, mercy to give, cups of cold water to administer, truth to tell, and a people we must be as we walk humbly with our God. Jesus promised the world will know we are his disciples by our love. If we could take that seriously for a while, everyone will benefit.