A Time for Patience, Prayer and Grace ©

As I write this, the results of the election for President of the United States are not yet known. In many of what political pundits term “battleground states,” there exists a razor thin margin between the two major party candidates. And, at last check, there are at least four lawsuits in these states challenging the way the votes were/are being counted. So, we may go through the weekend and into next week without knowing who won, which means the sniping and quarreling and ugliness in rhetoric in the media and online is likely to continue and probably escalate. I urge you to remember who you are and whose you are as Christians and eschew and even counter such behavior. Recall the instruction given to us in Titus… 

Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities. They should be obedient and ready to do every good thing. They shouldn’t speak disrespectfully about anyone, but they should be peaceful, kind, and show complete courtesy toward everyone.” (Titus 3:1-2)

Irrespective of whether President Trump and Vice President Pence are re-elected or, as it appears, if former Vice President Biden and Senator Harris are now the President- and Vice-President-elect, I call upon us as followers of Christ to reach out to others in hope and humility offering a generous and loving grace to all. Most importantly, let us keep all four individuals who have offered themselves for the highest office of national leadership firmly and fervently in our prayers. And don’t stop there, pray for all those who have offered themselves for public service from the White House, to the State House to the local school boards and city councils. Let us continue to pray together for the United States of America, our State, communities and for our whole world.
 
It is tempting, regardless of our politics and personal perspective, to see an election, especially one as contested as this one, in cataclysmic terms. While I do not wish to diminish the importance of this election – or any election, it is good to remember that the outcome is not of ultimate importance – that victory has already been won! Once the results of the election are officially announced, it will neither be the end of the world nor the blissful dawn of a new age of righteousness. Regardless of the results, Jesus is still Lord. However chaotic life may be, this is still God’s world.  God in Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit is moving in our nation and world. Let us hold dear to a biblical truth. 

“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God.’” (Revelation 21:3)

In this time of tension, I urge us all to reach out to others with a graciousness of spirit, which is reflective of the Holy Spirit’s presence. I truly mean that. Reach out. Call, text or email a friend or colleague that you know is probably hurting or even frightened for the future. Actively share kindness. Or, as Dr. Clifton Howard kept reminding us during the just completed Be the Bridge Racial Reconciliation event, “What you’re saying, is that we need to be a little more like Jesus.”
 
May we embrace the virtue of patience. Let us reflect the fruit of the spirit in kindness, gentleness and self-control. (see Galatians 5:22-23).
 
I have spent a significant amount of devotional time living in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi in the last 12-plus years that I’ve been blessed to be the Bishop of the Central Texas Conference. I believe it speaks deeply to our current time and place, and I strongly commend Paul’s advice to the Philippians to us today.

If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:1-5)

May The Lord bless and keep you. May The Lord make his face to shine upon you. May The Lord be gracious unto you. May The Lord give you peace.  (from Numbers 6:24-26)