Transforming Lives Through The Love of Christ
 I can’t remember an election year with so much hatred, anger, accusation, vile, repulsive mud slinging, condemning, fear, ugliness and blind allegiance than this one.  And I am not even talking about the candidates, I am talking about Christians!  Somehow Christians on both sides of the political aisle have become more like the candidates than they have become like Christ.  Somehow we have been conformed to the pattern of this world and been left untransformed by the renewing of our minds.  It is a sad commentary when the world sees the Church divided, taking sides and speaking poorly of others.  The world does not need to see Christians casting stones but instead shining the light and love of Jesus in every community, school, neighborhood, place of employment and home that they find themselves.  Yelling louder, picking out the specks in other’s eyes and clinging to nationalism is foreign to the message of Jesus.
     Believe it or not Jesus did not speak out against the government or seek political reform.  He sidestepped the issue all together when He was directly challenged to respond to how the people should act towards the Roman ruling party:  “Dóste píso ston Kaísara ó, ti eínai Caesars kai sto Theó ó, ti eínai tou Theoú....“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  Brilliant response!  Jesus did not seek to reform the government but to replace it.  Reformation is not the answer, transformation is.  According to Scripture (I Corinthians 4:4) Satan is the god of this age.  Jesus is not trying to reform Satan.  Instead He will replace him; He promises another Kingdom, the Kingdom of God which was inaugurated with His coming and will be finally fulfilled upon His return.  That is why we pray: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it s in heaven.”  Jesus told Pilate very plainly:  “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:33 – 36).
     We are ambassadors of another kingdom, the kingdom not of this world.  Ambassadors represent one country/government/kingdom while living in another.  As ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven the way we act is informed by the kingdom that we serve and we are reflections of the King of that kingdom. Paul says that our citizenship is heaven (Philippians 3:20) and while we are to live in respect and submission to the authorities (as long as they don’t conflict with God’s laws) we are also to pray for them as God’s instruments in this world. (I Timothy 2:2).
     I think it is fair to say that Jesus would not campaign for or endorse any candidate.  Instead He cries out a prayer to the Father and invites all to come find life in Him and His kingdom.
 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,  and you were not willing.”
 
     As we enter the polling booths on Tuesday we are mindful that we live in this world and yet serve a Higher Authority.  We may exercise our rights and privileges of voting and still be Christlike in all we do.  And whoever wins, nationally and locally, will need our prayer. Let this prayer by Rev. Andrew M.L. Dietsche guide us:
We thank you, Lord, for these your earthly gifts, and for all the blessings of this life. 
 We thank you for the natural majesty and beauty of this land. They restore us, though we often destroy them. Heal us.
 
We thank you for the great resources of this nation. They make us rich, though we often exploit them. Forgive us.
 
We thank you for the men and women who have made this country strong and sacrificed their lives. They are models for us, though we often fall short of them. Inspire us.
 
We thank you for the torch of liberty which has been lit in this land. It has drawn people from every nation, though we have often hidden from its light. Enlighten us.
 
We thank you for the faith we have inherited in all its rich variety. It sustains our life, though we have been faithless again and again. Renew us.
Almighty God, you hold us to account for the use of all our powers and privileges: Guide us, the people of this nation, in the election of our leaders and representatives, that by wise legislation and faithful administration the rights of all may be protected, and our nation enabled to fulfill your purposes. 
Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquility your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love. 
O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our national, state and local governments, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves, and a blessing to the other nations of the earth.
Help us, O Lord, to finish the good work here begun. Strengthen our efforts to blot out ignorance and prejudice, and to abolish poverty and crime. And hasten the day when all our people, with many voices in one united chorus, will glorify your holy Name.
Amen.
What do you think?  How does it make you feel?
Blessings,
Steven