When Did We See You…?
Thoughts on the Election, the Church and the Reign of Love
Dear Friends in Christ,
There is much that weighs on my heart in this season in which we find ourselves. COVID 19 continues to rob us of those we love and of the contact with each other for which we yearn. There is in this a quickening reminder of our core constitution as beings created for community in its many and varied forms. The angst of the election with its polarizing polemics seems only to exacerbate this core hunger for a world where life is joined by something deeper than the commercials of the moment would indicate.
In all of this I have wondered about the nature of our seeing. Not just the seeing of the eyes, but the seeing of the heart through which God leads us in Christ toward the suffering of the world. Matthew 25 carries a compelling question in this regard, “When did we see you?” In the final judgement of life and death, this question of heart vision leads to two other which seem to be at the core of Jesus’ life and ministry: “Where is there suffering and how can I (or we) help?”
Do we see our lives as fundamentally connected in a unity beyond our knowing or simply as a collection of individuals trying to take care of ourselves? Far too often the latter seems to be the operative voice in the conversations of our day. But we who follow Jesus are called to a different way. That way is one of healing born of a love that seeks the other’s greatest good. This is one of the core meanings of agape. In this way we discover life joined as God intends it and has created it.
So, we are called in this season to vote for leaders who will guide our nation and to some large extent our world. May our voting be guided by this vision of God in Jesus Christ where life is arranged in such a way that all God’s children can freely use their gifts without fear for the upbuilding of the human family and the whole creation so that all may flourish, sharing in God’s abundance and joy. For our call is not simply to alleviate suffering but to work for creative and mutually enriched flourishing.
There is yet another high calling which God in Christ puts before us especially in these days. It has to do with the kind of spaces we will cultivate for each other when we disagree. There are no communities of faith where everyone thinks the same or votes in the same way. Many different influences will cause this to be true. The truth is that we are all formed by many varied life experiences some of which we are very aware of and others not so much. It brings us to act and vote in different ways. It makes our engagement in community both challenging and life-giving.
It is here that the question of “When did we see you…?” again is vitally important. Can we have the courage to see one another with our hearts grounded in love as the starting point of engaging when we discover someone carries a version or vision of life that seems to challenge or even contradict the one we may carry? Can we foster spaces safe enough for there to be brave conversations that begin by getting to know one another, taking seriously each other’s stories in ways that soften the hard lines which daily diatribes often try to draw?
This it seems to me, is the high and holy calling of the church in whatever forms and by whatever means it gathers. God in Christ has called us to be a sign, literally a sacrament of becoming, so that by our lived example the world may know a different way and discover a hope that breaks the despair of the moment. May we, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, be about this work for which the world yearns. Blessings on you and Godspeed!