Election day is coming. We’ve turned the corner into the homestretch. Here in North Carolina, a battleground state, the ads have reached fever pitch on radio and TV. Every day brings more mailers to my mailbox. The finish line is near
Will you vote that day? I hope you will. I hope you will say a quiet prayer for wisdom and guidance, and enter your appointed polling place to cast a vote if your conscience allows.
At the end of that day, when the signs are put down, the projections are made and fulfilled (or not), the electoral college goes back into remission for four years, and the transfer of power begins, what will happen at your church?
I have a few guesses as to what will happen at mine. Naturally, all these suggestions fall under the category of “If the Lord wills, we will do this or that.” Perhaps the Lord will return before Election Day 2016. But if not, you might find us that week just like any other Sunday.
We will pray for our leaders.
Each Sunday when my pastor steps behind the pulpit for his pastoral prayer, he prays for our leaders. Nearly every time, he prays for the President. On occasion he also lifts up the Charlotte city police, school board members, city councillors, the mayor, or our senators and representatives.
When we pray for the President, we don’t feel the need to express whether or not we agree with the President. It doesn’t matter. We plead with the Lord to make him wise. This wisdom would benefit all people in our nation — Christian and not — as well as those around the world. So we pray for him, in obedience to I Timothy 2:1-4.
I will be so bold as to predict that on the Sunday after election day, we will pray for the president-elect. Even after this racism-laced, fury-filled nightmare of an election year. Even with the despicable things we’ve learned or speculated about each candidate. This prayer will be a simple act of obedience, a plea for God’s intervention and help for our country.
We will call each other “brother and sister.”
Regardless of the person who is next to take the Oath of Office, we Christians will still be one in Christ. Our status as members of one another cannot change, as it is sealed for us in Christ:
Romans 12:4-5 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
I expect as I walk through the doors early that Sunday, one of our staff members will call out “Hey, Sis,” as he always does — in spite of the fact that I am almost old enough to be his mother; in spite of the fact that I am a different race than he is. We are brother and sister in Jesus. The election cannot change this truth.
Indeed, as Christianity ceases to be the majority in America, these ties of spiritual family ought to become more precious and more solid as other ties may pass away. This election cycle focused some attention on the difference between cultural Christianity and…well, not-just-cultural Christianity. How will this difference continue to sharpen in the coming years, as America becomes more diverse? Our love and attachment to one another in the Body of Christ should become more sweet as it becomes more rare.
We will partake of the Word and the sacraments.
Whether you call them sacraments or ordinances, the remembrances we partake of on the Lord’s day help us proclaim Him until He comes. The Lord Jesus left these ordinances behind as a tangible help for us and the world.
Will you see a baptism on the Sunday after Election Day? Will you partake of the elements at the Lord’s Table? Be encouraged — these occasions were meant for your edification and joy! They are sure signs that our citizenship rests in Heaven. Let your tastebuds, your eyes, your ears remind you — America will pass from the Earth one day. God’s kingdom is forever.
Then when your pastor ascends to his place behind the pulpit, be grateful. We live in a land where we are free to hear God’s word without fear of imprisonment. This is our true “feeding time” as sheep of God’s pasture. On the Sunday after Election Day, I will look down my pew at my children. Some of them will be paying rapt attention with their Bibles open in their laps. One will be head down, brow furrowed, taking notes and doodling. A couple will be wiggling or yawning. But all of them — mostly oblivious to it — will be partaking of a feast that Christians around the world long to have. God’s Word, clearly and publicly proclaimed. Encouragement offered. Gospel preached. Glory!
So what will happen at your church on the Sunday after Election Day? I suspect that many of these same things will take place. If so, Christian, you have reason to rejoice. Yes, be sober in the face of our changing times. And then be more determined to lock arms with those Christians over centuries past who celebrated Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day, expectantly awaiting the Kingdom come.