by Dale Gish

As I preached on Sunday, elections matter, political systems matter, injustice matters. But as Christians, we do not put our hope in them. Our hope was not in Hillary. Our hope is not in Trump. Our hope is that there is a good God who created all things good. We have a God who in Jesus became human, who called God’s people back to him. Jesus taught us a different way, that rejects the violence and hate, and quest for power of our world, and instead lives into God’s in-breaking kingdom. And when Jesus died on the cross, he defeated the powers of sin and death, making it possible for us as God’s people, to participate in that in-breaking kingdom in the church.

Image via upsplash cc Elliot Stallion

Our job in the church is to be the better place God has called us to be and to witness what it will be like when Jesus returns and sets everything right. Unfortunately, the church has often failed to be this better place, seeking worldly power, lording it over others, using coercion instead of attraction. Regardless of who won this election, the church has some significant repenting to do. We have put our hope in the wrong things and that has corrupted us. Lord have mercy.

To immigrants, women, people of color, anyone who greets this morning afraid of what a Trump America may mean for them, remember that Jesus loves you, that God hears the cries of the poor and the ways of the arrogant he brings to ruin. Jesus is with you in your fear, in your suffering. And there are faithful Christians who love you and will stand by you, no matter what happens politically in our country. Do not fear. Put your trust in the one who is good, who brings peace.

To Christians on the political left, you may want to read the book of Daniel and consider what it means to be faithful to God amid the empire. Remember that this is a chance to love your neighbor, even if they want to make America great again. Jesus loves poor whites and Republicans too. It is also a chance to let go of the fantasy that history is inevitably moving towards some liberal utopia. It’s also worth repenting of the self-righteousness of believing that we have the whole truth and that we don’t need to listen to those on the other side our political divisions. There is a lot of work to do, but remember, do not fear. Put your trust in the one who is good, who brings peace.

To Christians on the political right, please read the prophets, hear God’s heart for the poor, the immigrant, for the vulnerable. You may want to read the book of Daniel as well. God is able to judge arrogant rulers and all those who align with them. If you thought your vote for Trump was a vote for Jesus, you are sadly mistaken. America, or your vision of America is not the savior. Don’t be one of those asking, “Where was it that I saw you, Jesus?” when he comes. Even if you have segregated yourself from others, you have many neighbors that don’t look like you, don’t share the same politics, and Jesus calls you to love them, and to do that will put you at odds with our newly elected president. You may be celebrating today, but remember, put your trust in God and let God lead you in the way of justice and peace, and do not be seduced by the ways of power and might.

To all of us, yes, political systems and presidents matter. But God has seen much worse than Donald Trump (or Hillary). Let’s put our hope where it belongs and be about the work that Jesus calls us to, being a faithful presence, loving and serving where Jesus calls us.