17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
The ministry of reconciliation…God has entrusted us with the ministry of reconciliation. As this horrible election campaign sputters to its end, I’m going to challenge each and every one of you to take that ministry of reconciliation very seriously.
We are Christians – we are Jesus people. Some of us are Republican, some Democrat, some Independent. As a part of our baptismal vocation to love our neighbors, we are called to take part in the political process – to think and pray deeply about what candidates or issues have the biggest potential to increase love and abundant life for God’s people, to express our opinions and even debate them in civil discourse, to vote, and to engage our elected officials.
In the midst of all that, we need to practice this ministry of reconciliation. We can disagree, very strongly even, with our neighbor – and I’m including presidential candidates and their supporters in the category of neighbor. But we cannot call ourselves Christian and decide any particular person or group of people is not our neighbor and not deserving of our love. We may need to discern what that love should look like, but it’s safe to say that spewing vitriol is not love. Honestly, Jesus made it even tougher – Jesus said we should love our enemies.
So here is my challenge for all of us – in the days to come, especially after the election, be the voice of reconciliation. If you are politically active on social media, don’t post something blasting a person. Instead, pick an issue…learn about it…think about how it affects the people God loves, especially the people who struggle the most…form an educated opinion about it. Then, if you do the social media thing, post it there. Call or write your State Senator, or your US Senator or Representative.
Here’s my proposed issue and my pledge. Regardless what one might think of Donald Trump, he can be credited with hitting on an important issue – a once healthy blue collar middle class has lost out in many ways by the way the economy has played out over the last several decades. Since the Church is called to work and speak on behalf of people who have been knocked down, this seems like a good issue in which to get involved.
So I’ve got my issue. Now, my pledge is to learn more about trade agreements, manufacturing, corporations and corporate taxation, and employment and wages. I will pray for guidance and insight. As I learn, I probably will put stuff on Facebook. But I also intend to write to my representatives…my state senator if a state issue is involved…my Congressional delegates…and maybe even the president.
Above all, I will pray for the humility to remember I don’t have all the answers. In fact where economics is concerned, I don’t know much at all. And I will pray for the humility to listen to and respect other viewpoints. That is how I pledge to concretely practice this ministry of reconciliation.
What will you do?