As I sit down to write my monthly reflection for the readers of The Argus Observer I recall that I wrote a reflection following the election of 2016. It is as follows:
“I have read of past elections that have been brutally contested. The dirty tricks go back at least as far as the time when Thomas Jefferson ran for office. Over the last two hundred years there have been those that won and those that lost the election to public office.
This election has a different feel than anything I have ever experienced. The language used by the candidates was unusually brutal to one another. But more than that the language of the people on social media directed at one another was even more brutal and abusive.
Those of us who are part of the Christian way of life are in a unique position to serve those who are hurt. Clearly, the feelings are raw for many people and that includes you and I.
As I sit down to write this letter to the readers of The Argus Observer, the strains of the Pentatonix’s album “That’s Christmas to Me” come from our living room. “Mary did you know?” the song asks the question that can be asked of us, too. Do we know? Did we forget? The reconciling Love of God is what claims those of us who dare to call ourselves followers of the way of Jesus. That is what we need to provide for each other, especially now as we seek to heal the sharp divisions and find our way back together. We who are on the way have the ability and the power to do that. More than that, we have the responsibility to do just that.
Our longing for peace and reconciliation is no less profound now than it was at the coming of our Lord into this world. Yet we have been given the gift of being able to lift a broken and troubled world with Peace, Joy, Love and Faith.
It becomes clear to us after this political season that our longing for peace and reconciliation is not any more likely to come by the efforts of those that would govern us than it was at the time of Isaiah’s prophecy or the time of Mary’s proclamation as found in Luke 1:46-55:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation … ”
And So, I repeat that message now. We cannot look to our political leaders alone to solve our divisions. We must do that for each other. Fortunately, our God gives us the tools we need to accomplish the tasks that social peace requires. We are not winners and losers. We are neighbors. Neighbors are called by God to Love and care for each other. Love is the gift of God. Now we turn our face to Thanksgiving Day and to Christmas Day and to the beginning of a new year. I pray that we will all put the tool of love to good use.