Dear CRC Family,
What a long ride it has been been to this day! After what has seemed like an eternity of campaign ads and and endless stream of lawn signs, it is easy to lose perspective and become cynical, or just plain tired.
In the hype of this election day, it is easy for us to become disoriented–to lose sight of what is truly weighty. I offer the following words to help us keep our eyes fixed on that which is ultimately important, and so give us the much needed gospel ballast for engaging one another, even on the matters pertinent to our democratic republic.
The first thing that we must remember is that the most important election is not the choice we make today. Human rulers come and go. Rather the most important election is the choice that God has made to call us to Himself in Christ. In Scripture we are called “chosen of God, holy and beloved” (Colossians 3:12). This means that for us as Christians we are in a unique position for being a blessing to our friends and neighbors, if indeed we are drawing on the resources inherent in the gospel. The gospel is that God reached out to us in grace. And so, we are able to do the same.
While fulfilling our duties as citizens of this world, of which voting is certainly one of them, we need not fall prey to the temptation of looking to politics as a place of salvation (i.e. a place in which we find our ultimate hope, our ultimate/eternal significance and security). Every election cycle I see this tendency expressing itself on the right and on the left. “If we can only get our guy in the White House, then all will be well.” But as Jesus said to one of the most powerful politicians of His time, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up…, but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36).
This, of course, is not a license for us to neglect our responsibilities as members of the kingdom of this world. Rather, it actually allows us to engage the realm of human politics in a totally different way—in a much more helpful and redemptive manner. It keeps us from having to look to the realm of politics with a sense of desperation. For the Christian there is never any need for desperation. God rules! (Besides, desperate people tend to do dumb and often dangerous things.) Rather, the gospel, as it shapes our view of politics, liberates us so that we can hold our grip on the voting lever loosely, as opposed to idolatrously. As Christians at the end of the day we are called to represent a kingdom not of this world, with resources not of this world. And so we have infinite resources, with no need to fear or act foolishly. We are free to sacrifice, in very practical ways, our personal peace and affluence for the common good (even eternal good) of our friends and neighbors. In this way, the kingdom of God grows just as well under Solomon as it does under Caesar.
This bring us to our duty of prayer.
The Gospel of John records for us Jesus’ words to his disciples: “You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give to you.” As is evident even from this verse, in the broader context, Jesus is talking about prayer and its central role in our responsibility in this world. In another place He says, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:7-8). God has elected you to bring blessing to this world by your faithful perseverance in prayer.
Tomorrow is our monthly Day of Fasting and Prayer (for prayer times and locations see http://christredeemerchurch.org/events/prayer-fasting). In light of this I ask you to join us for one of the prayer times and to focus your prayers on two categories. First, pray for our nation. Pray that God would have mercy on us and that justice and righteousness would be exalted among us. Pray that God’s people would be peacemakers and that the Gospel of Jesus would flourish in our country and beyond. Secondly, I would ask that you pray for a pressing and practical concern for us as a local church. Pray, focusing on our pending building project. Here are four specific things to think about:
1) Pray for the necessary finances to complete the project
2) Pray for the building design process. We are seeking to draw heavily on the Buck Road design, but nonetheless, some changes will be required. Pray for unity among us and functionality of the facility.
3) Pray for the approval process with the City of Lebanon. Pray for favor and timeliness.
4) Pray for the greater kingdom impact. The bottom line for why we are moving in this direction is that we might have a greater opportunity to advance the good news of Christ in the Upper Valley and to the ends of earth. Pray that God in his good providence would use us and this project to that end.
For His Kingdom,