Here in my province, the province of New Brunswick, we are in the throes of an election. I must confess that such times can cause me to express my most cynical side. Incumbents promise to do so much better this time and the opposition promises us the moon and the populous tries hard not to get its hopes up!
South of the border we see the disappointment that comes with unrealistic and unrealized hopes. President Obama was swept in on a wave of hope that was truly audacious and now he is mired in reality of recession and old time gridlock. Hope was so high that disappointment was inevitable.
I do not want to use this space to talk about politics; instead I want to talk about hope. Hope that is placed in anything other than the Lord is doomed to disappointment. We look at poverty and we say “Someone should do something!” We look at the health care system and say, “Someone should do something!” We look at the mentally ill on our city streets and we say, “Someone should do something!” We look at issues of environmental waste and say “Someone should do something!” We put a lot of trust in this “Somebody” but who is this somebody. From the context we can easily discover that “Somebody” is a person or persons but does not include me! Usually we mean the government at some level.
As followers of Christ, I think we need another way of thinking. In the early days of the Church, Roman society did not value life. Unwanted babies (usually girls) were abandoned on the junk heaps. Jesus followers did not protest instead they took the babies in and adopted them into their families. They did not ask the government to solve issues of hunger, instead they shared their food. This seems like a recipe for disaster and eventual joint poverty but it did not work that way. The Church that was following a different ‘Way’ was noticed by the world. In some cases it was reviled but in others it was revered. These Jesus followers did not worry about bankruptcy their hope was set on the ascended reigning Christ. He in turn added daily to their number. It was through their identification with the distinctive marks of the Kingdom of God that others were drawn to their Saviour. This is our example! We ought not to trust in men or horses but in God and then we can act on our hope making changes in our world.
The third world sees the marks of the Christian religion as being that of exploitation and consumerist excess. How far these marks are from those of the Jesus followers of the first three centuries of the Church!
I am not advocating opting out of the political process (as a matter of fact I have strong political views) but I am advocating that our default “Somebody” ought to be us rather than a governing party which is sure to disappoint. Our reliance on government for solutions stems from either our unwillingness to pay the personal cost or a paralysis at the size of the problems. Ironically it is as our resources are strained that God adds to us (in other words in God’s economy we grow by depletion) and Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world”
Let us vote our convictions and let us roll up our sleeves and exhibit the grace filled marks of the grace filled Kingdom. Let’s not wait for Speedy Muffler to make us a “somebody”!