Love your neighbor no matter who wins Nov. 3

At the center of the Christian faith and the Christian story is the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That’s important for Christians to remember as we’re 10 days away from “THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIVES.” Well, the most important one until the next one.

It’s important for two reasons: First, because we may confuse an earthly “kingdom” with the kingdom of God; and second, because when that earthly kingdom we have put our hope in fails to materialize (when our candidate loses), we may despair and think there’s nothing we can do now to help our neighbors.

To the first reason, it’s important for Christians to remember Jesus’ bodily resurrection as the center of the Christian story and faith, because if we have put our ultimate hope in Donald Trump or Joe Biden, our hope is misplaced.

Neither of those men will bring about the kingdom of God on Earth as it is in heaven. Neither candidate, nor anyone in either political party, has pledged to cancel all debt, empty the prisons, and convert our tanks into tractors. Neither candidate has asked the rich to give all that they have to the poor. If they had, they wouldn’t have gotten nearly this far.

To the second reason, it’s important for Christians to remember that God is a God of resurrection, because when the votes are counted, we may find that the candidate we feared would win has won.

We may be tempted to despair and fear that God’s will has ultimately and finally been thwarted. But God is a God of resurrection. Remember, the Roman government executed Jesus, but God raised him from the dead.

We may think love and justice have been put to death on whatever day the election results finally come in, but Christ’s resurrection reminds us that death is no obstacle to the love of God, for Christ has conquered death.

Whoever wins Nov. 3, however long the results take to tally, there are no laws that can stop us from following the rule of love, the rule of our true King: Jesus Christ, who bears the wounds of love, who said that whatever we have done to the least of these his brothers and sisters, we have done to him.

As Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-23, there is no law against love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

Elections are critically important. Elections can have life and death consequences. They can determine whether our neighbors will have the same rights and protections we have.

As citizens of the kingdom of God, it’s our duty to vote for those persons and policies we believe will best express God’s love and care for our neighbors.

And it’s as important, if not more so, to remember that our responsibility to love and care for our neighbors does not end when we drop off our ballots.

This column appeared in The Herald-Palladium on October 3, 2020.