Sitting in church yesterday morning, the Sunday before the 2016 Presidential Election, our pastor spoke directly into my frustrated heart. Did he realize this? I doubt it. Was he speaking about the election? Not really. He was speaking about our church community serving as the body of Christ right where we are.
But, all of a sudden, I had an “aha” moment over something I had been struggling with.
I had been carrying such a feeling of helplessness, which had been leading to feelings of hopelessness, over our country. But I realized yesterday, it wasn’t really so much because our nation is in such a sad state.
It is because it often feels as if the church is.
Not “my” church or “your” church. THE church. These days it feels like we are hurting and stumbling around like our only hope is in who gets elected. But friends, yesterday I was reminded that is NOT where our Hope lies.
Pastor Casey shared this in part of his sermon yesterday:
“We are called to live our lives in such a way that [God’s Holiness] is on display. Not just when we go out in public, but when we are in the privacy of our own home, and the way that we reconcile with our own family or with friends or with enemies. We are His people united with a purpose on a mission – that oh, this sleeping giant might actually wake up and remember her identity as God’s chosen people! His royal priesthood! Saved and redeemed and collected to declare His Excellencies!
What might happen in the world?
But instead we are lazy and complacent and our hope is in voting for people who are going to take care of the poor and the widows and the orphans.
But, I think the Bible speaks to how the Church should be running point. It’s messy. It’s difficult. I do not have all the answers, but I know who does.
So that may not mean that we know how to change the world, but can we take ownership of five miles around this area? Can we, as a covenant people, say that we are bound together around the Gospel of Jesus because we are identified as his, saved as his, and we are going to come pull together our gifts and our resources and our abilities and we’re going to take responsibility for a small little area of where God has us right now? Because the Gospel compels us, too.
Because Christ calls us to live and to give and to serve and to be his people. We are known that we belong to Him by the way that we love one another. That we live on mission for the purpose of making much of Jesus. That we go and say that there is a problem with abortion, but there is also a problem with the fact that last month there were two thousand children who were not able to be placed in a foster home.
Just in our area.
We have an opportunity as his covenant people to lean into the promises of God, to show the beauty of God, in his Gospel. To see this community transformed by the power of the Gospel so that we might live into the power of the resurrection, like Paul talks about in Philippians.
That you may proclaim the Excellencies of Him, who called you out of darkness, into his marvelous light!
We have something to say.
We have Someone to Hope in.
We have a mission in front of us that we can be a part of God’s work on earth as it is in heaven. But until we understand our identity in who we are in Christ, both individually and corporately, we’ll live like a sleeping giant.
If we begin to wake up, we actually begin to see and savor our Christ. We begin to press into him with our confessions, with our weaknesses, with our sin, and unite as his people. There will be no stopping the Gospel. There will be no stopping his kingdom. We will then truly be able to march with our King Jesus as he storms the gate of hell!”
As I did my best to accurately type out this portion of his sermon while listening to it again earlier, any lingering hopelessness was once again being replaced with hopefulness! (And a deep desire to stand up and shout, “Amen!”) I realized part of my hopeless burden was due to feeling like all the problems of our nation, and honestly our world, are just too much. I am just one person. How can I possibly make a difference?
Here’s how…I may only be one person, but as a Christian, I am one part of a larger whole! The body of Christ!
For believers, this 2016 election is not where our hope lies for our nation. Christ is! And we, the collective church, need to wake up and remember this! I know I did. There is an urgency in these days we live in. We can’t be lazy or complacent. It is time to live like we truly believe in the Gospel..the BEST Good News!
And as for tomorrow, Tuesday, November 8, 2016? If you feel led, go vote! Put that sticker on your shirt and rejoice in where the Lord has you, living in a country where we have the freedom to exercise the right to vote!
Brothers and sisters, then let’s change this nation one five mile radius at a time! This country’s greatest hope is in those of us that have claimed Jesus as our Lord and Savior – not a president!
We need to be the change. The kind of change that starts right where we are that can make the biggest difference to our nation.
Husbands, love and cherish your wives.
Wives, respect and love your husbands.
Parents, exemplify Jesus to your children.
Brothers and Sisters, serve one another with sincere and glad hearts.
Church, give generously of our resources and time to provide for the poor and widows and orphans.
Believers, share the Gospel to anyone that has ears to hear!
And then…what about Wednesday November 9, 2016? Lord willing, we will wake to a new sunrise. A sunrise that will usher in a new day with our nation probably knowing who our next president will be. And whether that person is who you voted for or not, it is still a good day. It is a good day because our hope is not in man! Let’s move forward remembering 1 Timothy 2:1-4 ~
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.