The window in the parsonage kitchen faces towards the back of the church. This morning as we were beginning our day and getting Parker and Wesley ready for school, Debbie and I noticed that we could see people down at the church. There was a line going all the way from the Fellowship Hall down the sidewalk back towards the Sanctuary. Election Day was here. I have to admit my first thought was, “now maybe I won't have seven messages on my answering machine every evening asking me to vote for something.” But as that thought passed I moved towards the gravity and importance of what I was seeing.
I want to share with you a quote by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. On October 6, 1774, Wesley said, “I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” What powerful words that still carry tremendous weight some 230 years later.
As Christians, I believe we should vote. We should do our research, we should spend time in prayer over the issues and candidates, and we should do the best we can to vote as we are led by the Holy Spirit. We should be vital cogs in the manner in which our country is conducted, and that begins with our participation in the democratic process. I encourage you, do not shy away from this duty, do not dismiss this responsibility as insignificant. Vote as an informed citizen and vote as an informed disciple of Jesus Christ.
Looking back at John Wesley's words, he did not stop at his encouragement to vote. He followed it up with two things we all need to remember; speak no evil of the person we vote against and feel no evil towards those that voted against us. In this day and age of competitive spirits and deep alliances, that can be hard.
I ask that you consider this one idea when you are about to deal with a person or people that fall into those two categories. Each of us make decisions based upon our life circumstances and living conditions. Very few of our decisions are ever made in a vacuum, with no outside influences. As such, we are not privy to the reasons that go into the decisions others make. This is where grace comes in. Give grace. Trust that the other person did the very best they could. Believe that the other person used the tools at their disposal to make the best decision that they could. Because even after the ballot is cast, even after the victor is installed, we are still brothers and sisters in the one Kingdom of God. Therefore, we need to treat each other as such.
I know this day is full of emotion, full of anticipation, and ripe with division. Let us, as disciple of Jesus Christ, be the beacons and guides of how to navigate the days after this election. Let the grace and compassion we show others, regardless of which side of the isle you stand, be what the world sees. Let your love, be strengthened with the love of Christ. Let our interactions with others be the foundations on which bridges are built, so regardless of outcome, God's Kingdom will continue to break forth into our reality, spilling out on to all those around us.
Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!