land of rest

Land of Rest is a blog of Peter Jenks. Poems, quotes and photos are by Peter Jenks (unless otherwise noted or I miss noting an older post's photo) and are copyrighted, you are free to use these if you acknowledge their source.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Great Possibility of Politics in the Church

Now that the fall is here
, and in an upcoming election year, I expect to start seeing more political signs on people’s lawns. Some, unfortunately, felt the need to jump the usual timetable and have had their signs up for months.
During the course of my journey of faith I have had the privilege to pray for many elec-tions and elected officials. Whether it was Gerald or Jerry, or Jimmy or James, Ronald or Ron, The Georges, Bill or Barack it is important that we pray for those in authority. I have not always agreed with those who were elected and felt some better than others, but in the course of hon-estly praying for them, that God would use and direct them, I have found my attitude changing. Through my prayers I can come to respect even those with whom I strongly disagree. This is a concrete way in which faith can make a difference in our lives. This is an especially important task for people of faith during this time of year. We need to pray and ask God’s blessings upon those making the great efforts to serve us, and even more im-portantly for ourselves to avoid the trap of getting caught up in hateful, disrespectful talk.
In a society where we tend to demonize those who disagree with us; in a culture where the media offers more and more biased opinions and perspectives; prayer is even more important for each of us in order that we do not fall victim to the intensity of opposition that is our present mode of operation. I have heard people bemoan the loss of prayer in school, but I grieve more for the loss of prayer in all of our lives. It all begins within our own hearts and cannot be blamed on others.
And the more we pray, the more we are deliberate in our prayers, the more open we become to the larger issues, the unintended consequences, the points where we might be mistaken or misguided. The opportunity of elec-tions is a simple and direct way to offer a litmus test for our spiritual well-being. Am I more partisan and con-cerned with politics than with my relationship with God and those around me? Am I more concerned with im-mediate political gains, or open to participating in discussion and growth? Do I find myself becoming worked up by the media’s frenzy, or is this whirlwind simply the noise that is clouding out the still small voice of God?
Our culture puts more emphasis on the politics of the moment, forgetting the issues of last month or last year. The call of our faith is to remember, to reflect and not forget the larger issues and the ways in which God is working in our lives. The importance of faith is to value our relationships more than the need to prove a point. The importance of belonging to a church, ideally, is that we are brought together in prayer with those we might otherwise not want to be with; and in so doing we see more clearly, follow God more nearly and love more dearly.

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