Glen Guyton is chief operating officer and director of Convention Planning for Mennonite Church USA.
Over the past few days I have been reading my Facebook feed and watching the various reactions about the election. Most, but not all of my friends are in shock, saddened, confused and fearful. Some of my friends are asking for Jesus to come back. Some are sharing horrifying posts of hate crimes. Others are lamenting Gary Johnson’s loss. A few are holding out hope the Electoral College is going to go rogue and make a different choice. For me, one post stood out from the rest. It said:
“Today was the day I prayed for the nation. Only God knows the plans He has for us and I trust in His judgment and it alone. Today is a day that I will remember for as long as I live. A day where fear drove an election. A day I have to explain to those who come after me. A day where we must band together instead of tearing each other apart. Today is a day just like the rest.”
Today is a day just like the rest. Wow, there is so much wisdom in those eight little words. If I am honest, I was not too surprised with the outcome of our national election. Our nation did not become any more or any less racist, sexist or any kind of “ist” on Nov. 8. Nothing really changed on Election Day other than a few people got woke* to the deep divides in our nation. Most importantly the mission of the church did not change.
Just because a large number of white evangelicals voted overwhelmingly for one candidate, that doesn’t change the fact that as men and women of God that “Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 6:12).
My hope is not built on Trump’s border wall or Hillary’s pantsuits. Today is a day just like the rest when I sing in my heart, “My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” While some proudly proclaimed “I’m with her,” we as the people of God first and foremost must proclaim that we are with Elohim. If we as Christians want to make America great, then we Christians should follow the example of Christ, casting our nets to touch the lives of men and women, rather than being distraught over the votes cast for politicians.
Today is a day just like the rest, when we have the opportunity to be the church that God has called us to be. Today is a day just like the rest when we can choose to love our neighbor. Today is a day just like the rest when we can live in fear or we can spread healing and hope to the world.
Today is a day for our church to demonstrate what love is. To show that love is a verb, that love is a conscious act that bridges the divide and reconciles the world to Christ. When the rest of the world is hopeless, confused and desperately looking for answers, that is the time the church needs to be the church — serving, loving and generously giving of itself.
I challenge us to keep above the fray and the political rhetoric. I challenge us not to gloat if our side won or to lash out if our side lost, because ultimately, in spite of political ideology, we should be on the same side — the side of the cross. This election is an opportunity for us the show the world what it means to be followers of Jesus Christ. How you might ask? Show love to those who are fearful, in need or emotionally distraught at this time. Feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless and clothe those who are naked. That is what I plan to do to celebrate the Lordship of Christ which did not change on Nov. 8.
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:34-35).
In the midst of a storm of negative and disconcerting Facebook posts that one post stood out to me. The author was someone very near and dear to me — it was my daughter. I could not be more proud of her. Over the last 19 years, I did my best to share the gospel message of hope with her. I think she got it. I hope the rest of us get it too, because today is a day just like the rest.