36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.
We are living through a politically charged time, in a nation that has great division. The attack on January 6 made it hard to deny—we are a divided nation, and not even an attack upon Congress has united us. I remember seeing signs being held up during the attack that read “Jesus saves,” and I was reminded of a book written by a Christian author Tony Campolo many years ago: “Is Jesus a Democrat or a Republican?”
The answer to the question is simple, but not often remembered. He is neither. His Kingdom is not of this world—he has no allegiance to any political party. And, why would he? After all, he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! His authority is far greater, and his desires for this world far purer. The reality is that our political parties are human made, and as such are flawed. Both Republicans and Democrats fall short of God’s desire for creation. Both would do well to call upon God, not for affirmation but for direction. The way that leads to life is difficult, Jesus said, and we all need God’s help when it comes to doing what faithfulness requires.
As the church, we are Jesus representatives in this world. We are his hands and his feet, and an extension of his ministry. This does not mean that we are perfect, nor does it mean that Christians always get it right when it comes to politics. It does mean that, like Jesus, our first allegiance is to God and God’s will. As such, we become a moral compass in the times of storms, always holding before each other, and our leaders, the Kingdom of God (“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” we pray)–a time and a place when justice rolls down like water, when peace rules among us, and when tears are wiped away. Until that day, we point toward what is possible, knowing the only way we will get it right is to surrender our lives to Jesus, and to follow him.
Yesterday, in President Biden’s inaugural address, he called upon all Americans to work to bring an end to division. That does not mean all Americans must agree on politics—we do not, we should not, and we will not. It does mean that there needs to be something greater than our political ideologies that holds us together, something like the love we have for each other, for our country. Such love will take us far in doing what faithfulness to our God requires. After all, Jesus summed up the whole of the law, of God’s will for our lives, with one little word: Love. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and like that, love your neighbor as yourself.” May it be so in our lives!
God bless you and stay well.