Hope Beyond the Election

Anxiety reigns as the election draws near! Both sides of the political divide imagine the results in apocalyptic terms. Indeed, much is at stake! Nothing less than the future of our democracy and stability of society’s institutions hang in the balance. The Right and the Left and the Middle have contrasting interpretations of “democracy” and “stability”; and visions of the nation’s desired future are colliding in the choices citizens are making in the election.

Admittedly, I am more anxious about the future of my homeland than I have been in my almost eighty years. I fear the consequences of continued polarization, ideological warfare, political dysfunction, corruption, dishonesty by governmental and institutional leaders, the harshness and crudeness of our discourse, and the blatant racism and tribalism expressed at the highest levels of our government.

Then, there is the Covid-19 pandemic that is killing more and more of our citizens while many deny its deadliness. I yearn for empathetic, compassionate leadership that pays attention to God-given science and puts the welfare of ALL above personal aggrandizement and political expediency.

Now is the time to get in touch with the foundation that will remain beyond the election results. This isn’t the first time people of faith have endured the crumbling of national, institutional, and cultural foundations. Neither will it be the last time catastrophic threats will appear.

Out of the agonizing laments of a collapsing nation and widespread despair came this resounding declaration following the collapse of Judah and the destruction of the economic and social life among the citizenry at the hands of Babylon:

The steadfast love of the LORD
     never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an
     end; 
they are new every morning;   
  great is your faithfulness. 
The LORD is my portion, says
     my soul,
  therefore I will hope in him.                    
                   Lamentations 3:22-24

That is the bedrock foundation that will not be shaken by the election. Hesed, the Hebrew word translated as “steadfast love,” declares God’s unrelenting, loyal, unshakable compassion, mercy, and justice. It is at the heart of God’s character, the essence of the Divine Being.

Love, Compassion, Mercy, and Justice will remain deeply embedded in the nature of reality, whatever happens in the election. They are divine components of creation itself. And, nations and institutions rise and fall in accordance with how they embody “the steadfast love of the Lord” and the mercy that never ceases.

Whatever happens in the election, God will be faithful in “defending the orphans, widows, and sojourners (immigrants); announcing good news to the poor and release to the captives; entering solidarity with the poor, the vulnerable, the dying; breaking down the dividing walls of hostility and welcoming ALL into a beloved community; and bringing to completion the reign of justice, compassion, hospitality, and joy.

I remain anxious about the outcome of the election. But I will not give up! Indeed, there will continue to be opportunities to expand the circle of love, practice compassion in places of suffering, extend mercy to those in need, and work for justice so all may have access to God’s table of abundance.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.” Therein lies my hope and my calling beyond the election.

9 thoughts on “Hope Beyond the Election

  1. Thank you for this posting. I cannot bear the thoughts of having DT serve 4 more years. My faith is strong but the continuing degradation of our beautiful earth; the demeaning of people, the lies and deceit that he continues to display are so difficult for me to tolerate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so very much for these words; it is amazing how quickly I find myself losing sight of my foundation, only to return through such loving pathways as God;s reassurances – brought to me today through your writing. I am grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Ken. I needed the assurance that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” regardless of what tomorrow brings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When we look at our country we too often default to the lens that sees winners and losers. This springs from one of the real “religions” of America: sports. Let’s change lens and ask some deep questions. Let’s look at this country as a airplane. To keep a plane in the air there needs to be lift and drag. The wings need to be long enough to create lift but lift without drag means no control. Drag in political terms should be a stabilization based on the basic values of America. The failure of the stabilizing element–the conservative “drag”–is that it seems not to know what those values are (freedom of speech, press, religion as an act of persuasion not manipulation, guns in the hands of a “militia”, the marketplace of ideas) and the problem of the wings–the “progressive” element– is the lack of belief in restraint upon freedom in any form built upon a belief that there are no eternal ethical truths. Everything is made worse by the refusal of both sides to believe that we are in a spaceship called earth where what happens to damage one side of the spaceship threatens everyone (a rough paraphrase of a speech Adlai Stevenson gave at Northwestern University decades ago). We need both lift and drag to keep this plane in the air but the refusal of each to see how much relies on the existence of the other may destroy the ship. No form of democracy is insured of perpetual existence without perpetual balancing of dangerous extremes.

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