Like many of you, I will be glad for this day to be over. It has been a long, grueling, and often ugly election season, unlike any other I can remember in my lifetime. Like many of you, I have been to the polls and voted—about one hour ago. Like some of you, I will probably wait up later into tonight to catch a glimpse of how Americans voted today. Like many of you, I really have no clear idea of how the election will go—either in the presidential race or the (possibly even more important) “down ballot” contests.
What I do believe, what I KNOW, is that I have several callings in what follows today as a Christian in America.
First, I have a responsibility to pray for those who have been elected. I will pray that each winner will see his or her vocation to lead in a fresh and careful manner over the next couple of years. (Two years for the House members, four years for the President, six years for the newest Senators-elect, miscellaneous terms for governors, state legislatures, and judicial officers.) Praying this way means deep, fervent, passionate intercessions on my part. Nothing less! Nothing rote and nothing casual! A few citizens may demonstrate or protest. A few may threaten to move to Canada. I will pray. I will also pray for those who voted for the candidate(s) who lost. May I/they find peace and hope in the days ahead.
Second, I have a responsibility to proclaim a different kind of “kingdom” than one which may be political, ideological, or legislative. I must call myself and others to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). I must re-examine my life/our lives in light of the Beatitudes of Jesus (Matthew 5:3-12) and point to them as the way of a believer in every situation. I must put on love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:23ff) as the highest good humankind has ever known. I must call myself, the Church, and the nation to a permanent higher plane of living.
I did not and never should tell others how to vote. Rather, the most important faith-based “message” around any election season may well come not just before, but just after the votes are counted and confirmed. Our method of voting is defined by the Constitution and various state laws. The Christian challenge and encouragement to elected leaders is on a vastly different level—defined for me by the Judeo-Christian tradition and, more specifically, by Jesus of Nazareth. .
Jesus spoke more about a new kind of Kingdom than about any other topic in his earthly teaching. As a would-be disciple and advocate for that Kingdom, I call myself and all who seek to follow Him to a faithful, faith-based response to whatever happens tonight and in the days to come. Leadership asks nothing less.