Tomorrow is Election Day, and our church is the precinct for our area, so today they will be here setting up the voting machines. Even though we see political ads constantly on TV and the Moultrie news has done a good job informing us about the local races, you may have noticed I have been silent in the pulpit regarding politics. It is not because I am afraid of sharing my political views, I just don’t think that is my calling as a preacher.
However, with social media changing how so many folks receive information and with our cultural climate becoming so divisive, what should people of faith do? How should those who speak from a pulpit each week address the issues our congregations are facing? Is it appropriate for our session to take a stance on political issues that affect our community?
An observant first-time visitor to our church will immediately know where I stand on separation of church and state when they see the flags in our Great Hall and not in the sanctuary. You see, our political or national identity is not our ultimate one. We are first and foremost children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ. When we gather to worship, we do so not as Democrats or Republicans but as Christians. Therefore our ultimate allegiance is to Jesus.
The folks filling our pews don’t all share the same political views, they don’t always agree on what our most serious challenges are, and they won’t agree on solutions to these challenges. Committed people of faith hold vastly different opinions.
So what do we do? We pay attention, we VOTE, we serve our community by being involved in civic groups, our schools, scouts, athletics and any group making a positive difference in the community in which we live. And as people of faith, we PRAY—for our nation and for those who are leaders, even when we don’t agree with their policies or we don’t care for their personalities.
This may not be a “political” statement, but I think practicing the SIX GREAT ENDS OF THE CHURCH could really transform our community, the nation and the world:
*the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind
*the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
*the maintenance of divine worship
*the preservation of the truth
*the promotion of social righteousness
*the exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world
Hope to see you at the polling place AND in the pews!