On Voting

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“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

Abraham Lincoln

Voting can be a complicated business for Christians. Some Churches discourage voting while others drive voters to the polls. Some pastors are clearly on the side of one party or another and know how to get their congregations to vote the “right way.” And then there is voter suppression. From the beginning there have been people in the USA who want to disenfranchise certain other people. When this country started only men with property were able to vote. Every other citizen has struggled and fought to gain the right to vote. Women finally gained the right to vote in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified. That was really not that long ago. My mother was a young girl when the amendment was passed. From all that is happening in today’s world, we know that there are those who want to take us back to the “good old days” when white men ruled over the rest of us.

The scandal of our country is that nearly half of our citizens do not vote in general elections, and even fewer vote in the off years. But voting is the way that we the people have to govern ourselves, which is the meaning of democracy. When people complain about the government, they are complaining about themselves, for in a democracy, we are the government, and we get what we vote for. If we don’t vote, we should not complain.

Because voting determines the direction of our country, it is important that everyone of us does vote. Our job as Christians is to vote in a way that leads the world closer to the Kingdom of God, not farther away from it.

Today’s gospel reading was from Luke 13: 18-21. Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed that grows to be a tree, and to yeast that leavens a whole bunch of dough. What this means is that a small group can make a big difference in this world when they are on the side of God’s kingdom. In other words, a Christian’s main concern is not making more Christians. The main concern is bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven — as we pray in the Our Father (The Lord’s Prayer).

Jesus was a political figure back in his day, constantly challenging the status quo. He’s the one who teaches us what it means to live in the ways of God. We are to act justly, love mercy, and walk in the ways of God. But we are also to be the salt, the yeast, the light for this world. We are to be that small group of people who make a big difference in this world by inspiring, encouraging, and persuading others to live according to God’s values. We don’t even need to call them God’s values, just persuade others to act with justice, love kindness, seek peace, be generous, be accepting of others, always hope for the best, and love one another. If we do that, the Kingdom of God will be nearby.

There is a marvelous song out now called Becoming What We Pray. I want you to go listen to it as soon as you can. Here is the LINK.

We are being called to vote and to vote according to the ways of God. This means I will never vote for someone who wants to lead us away from the Kingdom of God. If an issue or a person is leading us away from equal justice, away from the equality of persons, away from generosity toward others, away from compassion, away from kindness, I cannot support it or them.

My beloved in Christ, listen to the song above, keep the Kingdom of God in mind, then go vote!

Bishop Kedda

 

 

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