The Next Four Years

With frost still covering half of my windshield, I pulled into the local fire station. I meandered down the sidewalk through a discordant troupe of political yard signs. I found my place in line behind a middle-aged man who looked like he was running for office, not voting­­­­­­—black overcoat, pressed slacks and polished loafers. A young woman, and more after her, filed in behind me. All of us inched towards the warmth of the station, to the place where we’d receive our ballots. Election Day…

Having learned to familiarize myself with the whole ballot beforehand, I navigated through the choices swiftly. I darkened ovals next to my choice for Governor and Senator and County Coroner and so on. Oh, and there was the whole President of the United States thing. I got my sticker–“I Vote. I Count.”–and made my way back through the yard signs…

What I’ve just described sounds boringly mundane. But it’s far from it. It’s hard for us to grasp that voting is an extraordinary right secured by improbable sacrifices. Our nation and our rights, and the growing number and diversity of people who enjoy the blessedness of both, exist because scores of people throughout history submitted themselves to a cause. These people weren’t superhuman. Yes, many of them were gifted and brilliant, but they were all flawed in one way or another. Yet, they emptied themselves. And in so many cases, those saints didn’t live to see the fruits of their dedication.

With these thoughts in mind, I have two wishes for us as the 2012 election comes and goes. One, I hope we’ll respect and pray for our leaders, whoever they are. It’s important and even noble for us to challenge our representatives (and each other) so that the cause of freedom and dignity for all people is sustained and promoted. Still, love and integrity have to be the cornerstones of our discourse. Second, I hope, as a church, we’ll neither expect nor wait for our representatives to address the needs that are all around us. I hope we’ll represent each other; that we’ll embody the sacrificial spirit of the saints who have come before us; that we’ll use our freedom, namely the freedom God has given us, to creatively and comprehensively transform suffering.

“The greatest among you must be like the youngest, and the one who leads just like one who serves.”

One thought on “The Next Four Years

  1. So true, thank you for articulating what I am thinking & challenging me at the same time. We are fortunate to stand in line with no suicide bombers, no snipers, no officials ready to arrest us for how we voted.

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