“But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The election is over and Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States (or will be when the electoral college completes its work). Some of you are jumping up and down with joy, throwing your Make America Great hats into the air. Others are jumping up and down in anger and fear over the prospect of a Trump presidency. Before we get carried away on an emotional high or low, let’s pause for a moment and remember who we are. We are Christians, beloved children of God, saved by grace and called to faithfulness and love. President Obama said we are Americans before we are Republicans or Democrats, but I say we are the people of God before we are the people of America.
As citizens of God’s kingdom, we are called to live holy lives. Holy doesn’t mean self-righteous or arrogant. It is a biblical term used to describe something or someone set apart for God’s special purposes. That means we are set aside, drawn out of the crowds that surround us, to make the love, mercy, justice and righteousness of God visible in the world by living out those qualities in our lives. The Bible is clear – God calls us to care for the widow and orphan, to seek justice and live in humility, to show mercy to others, and to love – love our neighbor, love our enemy, and love ourselves.
So no matter who you voted for, remember, our first citizenship is in God’s kingdom, and the first call on our lives is to live by the laws of that kingdom. There have been numerous reports of Trump supporters accosting or threatening people from Muslims to liberals. If you see that happening, stand up for those under attack. There have been protests, mostly peaceful, across the country against the Trump election with fires set and traffic stopped. If you see that, urge protesters to refrain from injuring others or infringing on others’ rights.
And in the months and years ahead, let us continue to live first as God’s people. Let us commit ourselves to remaining open, to listening and considering Trump’s proposals, supporting what we can. But let us also speak truth to power, Republican or Democrat, when it is wrong as we defend the weak, encourage the underprivileged and stand for justice. Let’s remember all who feel outcast – African American, Latino, Asian, the disabled. But let’s also recognize the pain and isolation of the white working class who have been taken for granted for too long. Church judicatories have focused on urban needs, not a bad thing, but too often we have done it at the expense of rural areas. There are few resources devoted to their needs as conferences have cut budgets and staff. Let us now reach out with the love of God to neighbors near and far, people in red hats and white dresses, for as Paul reminds us, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female,” there is no longer Republican or Democrat; “for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
Finally, let us pray for President Trump, for President Obama, for Secretary Clinton, and for all who have a role to play in leading our nation. May God grant them wisdom, strength of character and a commitment to justice and mercy.
Prayer: Almighty God, remind me in these days that though the mountains tremble and the sea roars, you are still God. In victory or defeat, I owe my first allegiance not to a political candidate or party, not even to an earthly nation, but to you. Let my life be filled with the light of your love; let your goodness and mercy shine in all I say and do. Keep my heart open to my neighbor, whether they supported Trump or Clinton. Help me to seek your will for our nation and empower me to stand with those whom you love in their times of trial. May I live everyday as a citizen of your kingdom, redeemed by your son, Jesus Christ, and called to holy living. Amen.