Wednesday, October 26, 2016
October 26, 2016 How is it possible that something written nearly a hundred and fifty years ago can speak so clearly to the issues we face today? "Daily Light on the Daily Path" was compiled around 1875 by Jonathan Bagster from Scripture readings compiled years before by his father and siblings for family devotional use. Linda and I have used it regularly since college days, and since it is only Scripture, it never grows old, and sometimes the daily reading is eerily pertinent for today. The reading for October 26 contains the following reflection: "Not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed." If God is for us, who can be against us? (from Psalm 75:6-7, Daniel 2:21, Matthew 24:6, Romans 8:31). Politics these days seems to be little more than an exercise in fear-mongering. Trump fans are fearful of the prospect of another Clinton presidency, while followers of Clinton are afraid of the prospect of the unpredictable Trump. Political advertising panders to the fears of the people, apparently with some success. I hear all the reasons I shouldn't vote for either candidate, but not so much why either of them should get my vote. What bothers me about it all is not the ugliness of the rhetoric, nor the perhaps legitimate fears of the people, but the Christians who seem more motivated by fear than their faith. Whichever way we vote, we shouldn't be voting our fears. Today's reading speaks to the heart of the matter. Do we Christians believe God is in control? Do we believe God is for us? Reflecting on this morning's Scriptures, I think we are afraid of losing life as we know it. We want to hold onto what we have, or gain what we don't yet have, and believe the candidate we oppose threatens our status quo. It's understandable. Most of us have seen drastic changes in our country over the past few years; the uncertainty of our time and the belief that our elected representatives are more interested in representing themselves than us have shaken our faith. Perhaps it needs to be shaken. If our faith resides more in our government than in our God, a shakeup may be in order, a reminder that God removes and sets up kings (and presidents). We need not, ought not be alarmed. It is still true that if God be for us, it doesn't matter who is against us. And in Christ, we have God's "Yes;" his affirmation and assurance that for those who trust him, even if our world turns upside down, all will be well.