Category Archives: politics

Hope in Jesus not in an election

A national election is almost upon us – as we in Virginia well know, living in a “swing state” with its extra political mailings, phone call surveys, and nearby visits by candidates!

My prayer for Trissels during this political season is that we would be far more animated and impassioned about Jesus than about any of the political candidates.

 

Yes, our votes do matter. It’s best for our community, state, and nation when we elect officials who care deeply about abortion, marriage, economic justice, creation care, and peacemaking – values revealed in the Bible, values which move a nation and its citizens toward wholeness and well-being.

 

But Jesus matters far more! As one Mennonite pastor wrote, “Real power in this world – the power to save, to transform, to change – ultimately rests not in political parties or presidents or protests but in the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus” (Mark Schloneger at electiondaycommunion.org).

 

Many of us think, “Well, if we can vote our guy in, things will be okay.” In so doing we are falling for what Chuck Colson called “the political illusion” which is “the notion that human nature can be perfected by government; that a new Jerusalem, so to speak, can be built using the tools of politics; and that politics is all that matters.” We cannot turn to our government to solve our problems. But there is One we can turn to! Our Mennonite Church USA leaders remind us that “Scripture speaks pointedly to us: Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save (Psalm 146:3). This is a time to deepen our allegiance to Jesus, our Lord and Savior” (mennoniteusa.org).

 

This year – as every election, I guess – both presidential candidates are flawed. Maybe that helps us remember to not put our hope and trust in government.

 

Anytime we are filled with anxiety or anger about a flawed politician or governmental process, let’s meet it with prayer. Maybe even prayer and fasting. Let’s consciously turn toward God our Savior.

We show more-than-Americanism

Here are a few thoughts as we celebrate our nation’s birthday.

We as Mennonites view ourselves, first and foremost, as disciples of Christ and citizens of God’s reign. Only secondarily do we see ourselves as citizens of our nation.

The early Christians made the Roman government nervous. Everyone else in the Empire was willing to declare that Caesar is Lord, but these Christians would only say that Jesus is Lord.

Today in this country, also, sometimes our neighbors are unsure about us, worrying that we are “anti-American.” Mennonite ethicist John Richard Burkholder says that our attitude could better be described as “more-than-Americanism.” He points out that we “consciously adopt a more global worldview than most Americans.”

Yes, we love our country and are grateful for the opportunities it has given us and for the values that our flag stands for, including freedom of conscience, separation of church and state, the rule of law and representational government. We want our nation to flourish. But we also know that every human being and human community is equally precious in God’s sight. Yes, we pray for our country’s decision-makers and want God to bless America; but we also want God to bless the other nations. After 9/11 when bumper stickers saying “God bless America” proliferated on cars, one of my friends put on her car a sticker saying “God bless the entire world–no exceptions.”

We believe that God has called us:
To proclaim Jesus the Ruler of all,
To make known forgiveness of sins and hope,
To invite others to follow Christ,
To bear witness to the power of love over hate,
To work for justice where there is oppression,
To suffer joyfully for the cause of right,
To the ends of the earth,
To the end of the age
To the praise of God’s glory.
Amen (adapted from Hymnal: A Worship Book #713)