Greater than . . . less than
Today is Election Day 2016. This day has many people worried about its outcome and I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge I am one of them. But a simple act of kindness reminded me that no matter who is elected into office tonight, there is one thing that will remain the same.
God is still God. He is still the author of authority and the leader of leadership.
No matter who your chosen candidate is, there are two things that God has called us to do.
Love and well, yes, love.
You might be thinking that is the same thing twice and you would be most definitely correct. Much of the discord of this election has illuminated there are many people in the greatest country in the world who feel that their voice isn’t being heard (and this goes for both sides of the political divide).
After seeing these videos posted on a friends wall, for the last few days I have been watching “The Messy Truth” episodes by Van Jones (http://www.vanjones.net/the_messy_truth) where he sits down with real folks in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from all political inclinations to see why we can’t do just that: sit down and have a civil discussion. The final episode is powerful when one of the young men talks about the things that move him and the way he wants to change the world. While watching this episode I was reminded of God’s call to love the least of these.
I think Jesus understood, long before Lady Liberty proclaimed:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
that the world would always need someone to champion the least among us. Less than in the world’s eyes, but no so, in Jesus’. I think He also knew that it would be unlikely for the political leaders of this world to be the ones to do that. While your vote might have power, your actions and your prayers have much more. Choose to love, especially those without a voice. Your vote can be that voice, but more importantly, show up and be the light in their world. And don’t stop showing up.
Last Wednesday night, I was wrapped up in my own world of grading papers for my students and putting finishing touches on one for my classes. Other than the TV on for background noise, I was oblivious to the world around me. My teenager, on her way out to our church, noticed a little clear bag containing a battery and note hanging from our front door (which to tell you how engrossed I was in my tasks that door is 20 feet from where I was studying and I never heard a thing). The care package arrived from the church around the block (which is not our church home).
After reading the card, our Sister was blown away. She talked about this random act of kindness for days. She and I were touched by the church’s simple token embodying love thy neighbor. It was a powerful reminder that indeed we are called to love. While we know many church members there, our political leanings had nothing to do with which house they chose. Nope. They chose us all, offering love without question and without conditions.
All of these thoughts were swirling around in my head last evening when – you guessed it – more grading and more paper writing was going on. And it reminded me of just how important today is. Oh, it isn’t the election that deems its value nor is it who is elected into office.
Rather the most significant part of today is our ability to love.
Don’t get me wrong, I will vote and I will take my children with me to vote, because that right is one we should never take for granted. But at the end of the day, no matter the outcome of any voting, we are still called to love and to shine our lights brightly in this world.
Choose love. Vote for love – not in the voting booth but in our hearts and our actions. Let love be your guiding force in disagreements. Love the least of these. Love your neighbor. Use the emotions this election has stirred up to be love to someone else. Listen with love to those who differ in opinion from ours. Let the first thing others see by our love. As my young Jedi’s would say, “Let LOVE be your FORCE”. The greatest of these is love.
Back to that call to love and to love. When asked to define the greatest commandment, Jesus answered to love God and to love our neighbors. There it is the double whammy, one-two punch: love and love.
Behind the little curtain, we have the ability to alter elections, but behind the cloak of love, we have the power to change the world.