As you may have noticed, I haven’t blogged much in the past month. To a large extent, this has been because the focus of almost everyone’s attention is the upcoming election. It’s not my election, it’s not my country, and as much as I’m able, I try not to meddle in other people’s political affairs.
There is, however, a second reason why I haven’t been blogging: my best friend has been visiting for the past two and a half weeks. I drove him home last night. On the way home, I composed a blog post in my head – and then I arrived home to discover that a prominent leader in the pro-life community had used an altar as the stage for a sacrilegious attempt to strong-arm voters into giving their support for Donald Trump.
This shocked me. So much so that I considered the possibility that what I had to say was no longer relevant. That this final descent into political madness somehow changed the situation. I’ve thought about it, and I’ve decided that what I had to say is just as important, if not more so, than it was when I first composed it.
When my friend is visiting, I don’t really give a damn about politics. Years ago, when we lived in the same house and saw each other every day, we gave a damn together. Now we only really get to see each other when he comes down for his vacation, once a year. For those two and a half weeks we have more important things to do – like staging an elaborate live-action role-playing game for my children, and binge-watching Stranger Things.
But yesterday, I had to take him back to the religious community where he lives. This meant a long drive home by myself through some of the most beautiful country in central Ontario. During the drive, I was thinking about my friend and composing poetry in my head and it occurred to me that this is life: the love that we pour out to people, the love that we receive in return. The beauty that God in His creation pours out on the good and the bad equally, and the gratitude that we return to Him for that beauty.
This will remain true no matter whether Trump or Clinton wins the election. Friends will still clasp each other just one moment longer when saying good-bye. Venus will still rise on the evening horizon, herald to the coming stars. The grey-backed hills will still huddle around mirrored lakes, and the waters’ surface will still hang like ruffled glass bearing the image of the twilight sky, holding close the secrets of the seaweed.
Beauty will still be truth, truth beauty. Beauty will still save the world. Every heart will still come, like a refugee, to love. “And all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”
This is not mere Pollyannaism. Obviously, as Christians, we must care about political realities. We are obliged to strive for justice, for goodness, for love. Yet even as we strive to improve the world, there is a freedom that we are given in our efforts: a “peace which the world cannot give.”
This is the peace of knowing that, in the end, all of the pageantry of wealth and power is “vanity, and chasing of the wind.” We understand that powerful men and women are not half so powerful as they imagine. Not one tenth as powerful as the world imagines them to be. Perhaps not even one-hundredth. The upcoming election is, from an historical perspective, like the rust-coloured leaves that fall across the road and blow away under the wheels of passing cars. It’s outcome is of limited import.
America has produced the dubious achievement of turning the very political process into a circus to keep the masses entertained. No doubt, this entertainment is of the sort that belongs in a coliseum, and there is real blood that will ultimately stain the sand. But as Christians we can acknowledge this and yet maintain the conviction that in the end, death, and suffering, and evil, and malice do not have the final word.
We live, breathe, love, and surely we vote in the confident knowledge that the limbs of the tree of life were strong enough to support the body of a slaughtered God, not withering, not breaking, but bringing forth abundant fruit. They will withstand this coming election. They will not even bend.
Our Kingdom is God’s, and it is not of this world.
To my American friends, go the polls free in this conviction. Vote as your conscience bids you: for Hillary, for Donald, for a third party, or not at all. Know that however you mark your ballet, if you act out of a thirst for righteousness, you are blessed.
image credit: pixabay
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