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- Sunday Gatherings: Frost Middle School - 4101 Pickett Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032
[Originally sent to Sojourn Covenant Members the morning of 11.9.16]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I’m sitting here this morning trying to think about what to say.
What happened in our country last night is producing, in all of us, a lot of different emotions. It is doing the same for people all over the country and all over the world.
I don’t know who you voted for. And, honestly, that doesn’t matter much this morning.
What matters is what we, as God’s Kingdom people, are going to do today and the next day and the day after that.
I want to challenge and encourage us on a few things this morning as we continue to process the culmination of a vicious and tumultuous election cycle.
Be slow to speak.
Let me encourage you to be slow to speak this morning. With the immediacy of a social media culture everyone has something to say about everything. As Jesus’ people let’s strive to be patient and careful with our words knowing that by the tongue a forest can be set on fire and lives destroyed, certainly gospel witness damaged (James 3:5-6).
Be quick to listen.
This morning I sat across the table from a young woman in our church who works with many students who were not born in America, some who are not documented. She cried. She’s sad. She isn’t sure how to talk about this with the students she will see this afternoon who have legitimate fear because they aren’t sure what this means for them.
Listen—fear is not something to be criticized or scoffed at, it is something to seek to understand.
And understanding does not come through talking at others, it comes through presence and listening.
There are many people in our country that are fearful right now.
Whether you think that fear is justifiable or not, seek to understand where it is coming from—especially if you are in the white majority culture.
Be the church.
Our country is in a difficult place. Effectively split. Divided. Unfortunately, it seems the American church is as well.
Many people will lump you into the “white evangelicals” who voted Donald Trump into office. But that is not your identity whether you voted for him or not. Your identity is in Jesus, a child of God, a citizen of his Kingdom.
There has been too much conflation and confusion of religion and politics in our country. As Jesus’ church we are not about either. We are Kingdom people who have come close to the King. People who were lost, dead, and alone, but through the shed blood of Christ have been rescued, restored, and made a people, a family. We once were a part of the Kingdom of darkness, but have been transferred to the Kingdom of Light and Life.
As we find ourselves in the now and not yet of this reality, we are also a people who are called to live by the ethics of Jesus’ Kingdom whether those align with a particular political party or not, whether they are popular or not.
In the days ahead, the true church will be pushed more and more to the margins. But it is there that I believe we can be most effective in making much of our Jesus.
As Russell Moore so eloquently wrote today, “We are not, first, Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or progressives. We are not even, first of all, the United States of America. We are the church of the resurrected and triumphant Lord Jesus Christ. We have survived everything from the rage of Nero to that of Middle Eastern terrorist cells. We have, in fact, often done best when we are, what one historian calls, the ‘patient ferment’ of a church alive with the gospel.”
Following Jesus puts us at odds with Republicans and Democrats. Because our King and his Kingdom are not of this world.
Let’s make sure that the world around us understands this—that our hope is not in a president, party, or politics but in our crucified and risen King.
I also want to call you to pray. Pray for your new President. Pray for your country. Pray for your neighbor. Pray with one another. Pray for one another.
Pray to that God who is in the heavens and does all that he pleases. Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness.
When I woke up this morning my mind raced: Donald Trump will be our next president.
But then something else came to mind. That doesn’t change the fact that…
--My neighbor still does not know Jesus.
--My boys still need to learn what it means to be kind, gentle, servant-leaders.
--My daughter still needs to learn that her dignity and worth are not found in her appearance or body.
--Racism is still prevalent in our country.
--Homelessness and poverty still exist.
--More abortions will take place today.
--Marriages are still broken.
--People still feel shame over and feel bondage to their sin.
--There are men, women, and children around the world that still have never heard the name of Jesus.
Let’s be a church that strives to do something about those things—regardless of who sits in the oval office of the White House—because Jesus is still on his throne this morning.
That is my hope for Sojourn.
That is my hope for the church.
That is my hope for you.
I love you. I am thankful to be one of your pastors. I am hopeful for the days ahead because my Redeemer lives and reigns. Rest in him today.
.grace and peace.