November 6, 2016: “An Election Day Sermon”

In colonial America, there was in many places a tradition of holding a worship service on the morning of election day, before voting began. The preacher would remind the community of God’s covenant, which included the political order. Those standing for office were to fulfill the duties of office for the good of the community and avoid self-serving acts in office. The other citizens were reminded of their civic responsibilities under God.

On the Sunday before our fraught election this year, we revisited the tradition of the election day sermon.

An audio file of the sermon from November 6 is available at this link. 

The Scripture readings are Judges 9:7-15 and Romans13:1-7.

“The coming Kingdom of God will not be related in any significant way to the results of Tuesdays voting. It is or ought to be impossible for any Christian to believe that one candidate for any office will be our salvation from the disaster that will inevitably befall us if someone else is elected. Both the Bible and the long experience of Christians in society show us that just isn’t true.

“And yet those of us who look in faith to Jesus Christ and are spiritually united with him are able to approach the election and its outcomes in a spirit of real hope, in a spirit perhaps even of joy, because God has given us freedom from all natural illusions about the innocence of our politics.

“When God has set you free in Christ, you see what Paul means when he says, “…our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.” No matter how you vote, and no matter who wins, there is freedom in knowing that neither your salvation nor the salvation of this nation nor the salvation of this world is at stake. The good news is that you don’t have to make history come out right. Only Jesus can do that, and we know that he will.”