Yesterday an estimated 90 million people went to the polls to cast their vote for the shape of the country on a local, state, and Federal level. This sounds like a huge number but it is only a small fraction of the over 200 million eligible voters in the US. One thing that I think we can learn from that is that despite the easiest suffrage laws in the world and despite unparalleled access to voting booths, most Americans still simply do not care. That’s the strange thing about yesterday, people blame Washington for everything under the sun (economy, Obamacare, Social Security, the Cowboys losing record, Brett Favre, rainy days… you get the point), but yet the greatest problem is that an overwhelming voter base still does not recognize the great power they hold in the ballot box. Obama, Congress, the Supreme Court, or the Lobbyists do not dictate the course of the nation, the People do.
So what happened last night? Was it a strong response to Washington, to the White House, to the President, to a Congress, to unpopular legislation, to financial instability, to an increasingly stinky recession and unemployment rate, to a perception of failed promises, to a perception of the Administration being out of touch with the population, to a general sense of annoyance and anger? The answer is, yes.
But what happened this morning? The sun rose, lights came on, confetti and balloons were cleaned up, and the nation went back to work. That’s the beauty of this, that a response from the people is not met with gunfire from the powerful, that those who dissent legally are given the freedom to speak out, those who differ ideologically still must come together and work out legislation and policy and agendas that propel a nation forward.
What didn’t happen last night? I think one of the most heartbreaking things about last night is the knowledge that the ultimate problems were not solved. They cannot be solved. Not by a politician, prince, president, voter initiative, healthcare reform, economic policy, change, a return to whatever Glenn Beck was talking about, cap and trade, tax break, or anything devised by the hands of men. The most ultimate problem is an issue of sin. Not one politician’s sin or even the Aqua Buddha thing, but the condition of the human heart and its bend towards sin and against God. You can’t legislate that. Fire everyone working in the Beltway and start new hiring tomorrow and you still won’t fix that. Repeal Roe v. Wade and it still won’t be fixed. Make it an Executive Order that everyone should do good things and be nice to each other, it still won’t fix the biggest issue. Put prayer back in schools or bring the Bible in to be taught and it still won’t fix the problem (in fact I think doing these would only compound the problem and make it worse).
The answer to the problem is the same as it has been for nearly 20 centuries, Jesus. Not White Middle Class Republican Jesus, or Radical Social Liberal Jesus, or Buddy Jesus, or Happy and Cool With Whatever You Do Jesus, or Not Going To Intrude In Your Life Jesus. None of these. The true Jesus is the one who looks deep into the heart of man, calls on men and women to repent, and gives Himself as an offering for their sin. This is the Jesus who lived without sin, the Jesus who cared not for dead religion or lifeless orthodoxy, the Jesus who saw the weak and the poor as heirs of the Kingdom, and who willingly goes to the Cross for the Bride, to make her beautiful. This Jesus cannot be legislated, He cannot be contained, and He cannot be told what to do. He is a Lion who terrifies His enemies, and the Lamb who silently goes to slaughter for those He loves. He is above our political systems and needs no checks and balances because He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and completely pure, holy and good. He needs no veto power because all His purposes come to pass. He needs no approval rating because He is the Good Shepherd who leads by love and grace. He needs no campaign because ultimately, every single knee will bow in worship to Him and none will be without excuse.
Salvation doesn’t come from a party, politics, president, prince, midterm sweep, or anything like that. Putting ultimate trust in any of these things is the purest definition of idolatry, because you are looking at this and saying the same thing Aaron did at the Golden Calf: “Behold your god, who rescued you from _________.”
Christians, we have a duty and obligation to pray for our leaders, even when we disagree or don’t like them (both sides). Paul prayed for and submitted to the same Emperor who would later issue his execution order. Jesus submitted to the very authority that crucified Him. When did we think we were immune to this? Pray for government to lead wisely, to be a government by the people and for the people, and pray for the salvation of those leaders, that is their greatest need from us. We are called to be salt and light in a dark world, and that demands personal holiness, fervent worship, and desperate pleas for men and women to be saved through Christ.