Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Help

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. - Isaiah 26:9

John wrote: I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. - Revelation 19:11

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 121; 1 Kings 4:29-5:18; John 13:1-17

A week or so ago, I couldn't help but start bringing political views into my daily scripture and prayer reflections. Back then, I flipped ahead a few days and glanced at the texts to come, and I noticed that the verses for today had an "end of the world" kind of feel. It struck me that on the day after Election Day, one candidate's supporters would probably feel like the world had ended. I was hoping it wouldn't be my side - but here we are, and that's the way it went.

I don't buy the view that's popular in America that the book of Revelation is some secret code for a future final battle. It seems clear to me that Jesus warned us against such a view when he said, "About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

So what do we do with "end of the world" scriptures? I think they're meant to inspire us in times of real hardship and struggle. They witness to the faith that God wins in the end. And more than just enabling us to wait out real pain, that faith inspires us to look for the ways God is active here and now in passing judgment against the things that separate people from God, and teaching righteousness to anyone who will listen. All of scripture provides a vision of how God desires the world to work. And while we wait for that vision to be fulfilled, we can live and work and teach and pray according to that vision. At times we even see it becoming real right before our eyes.

I hope I would have written today's reflection pretty much the same way, regardless of how the election went. Winners shouldn't gloat, but humbly give thanks for the opportunities their candidate and their views will have. Losers shouldn't permanently despair, or fade away, but honor the way people voted, and continue to work for their values as they're able. With this faith perspective on God's judgment and righteousness, I think I would always say that everybody on both sides of an election battle should take heart that God is in charge, renew themselves in prayer, search for anything they need to repent of, and rededicate their energy to what they feel is right in God's eyes.

For myself today, though I'm discouraged and worried, I also find inspiration in 1 Kings 4's story of Solomon's wisdom (given to him because he had the humility and reverence to pray for wisdom rather than wealth or power); in John 13's promise of Jesus "love until the end" and the image of him washing his followers' feet, and telling them to wash each other's feet; and in Psalm 121's reminder that help - for all people, right? we can all claim this psalm - comes from God.


My prayer, and vision for what I personally resolve to try to contribute to, is that God's wisdom and love and help will find their way to ALL people, and that people of faith around the world will be moved to be a part of providing that godly wisdom and love and help for all who need it.

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