Choose this day

Pastoral Messages | October 27, 2022

The election season inundates us, and here’s one more blog putting the upcoming midterms in focus. 

Those of you who are still with me after that opening are, I would guess, more or less similarly occupied with November 8. Which candidates? What policies? What will our shared civic life look like after the election, and what will be the atmosphere of our political life? The Bible is not the place to turn for a direct or specific political action plan, but it does offer some wisdom about living together in community and seeking leadership. Here are the passages that come to my mind as relevant. 

“I will not leave you orphaned.” – John 14:18
John shows Jesus taking leave of the disciples at his final meal with them, reassuring them that it is not the end. Nor is it for us. God is present in the current moment, as always, not because anyone invokes the divine presence but because God cares about the creation, including us. That gives us comforting support and also a challenging standard. God has our back and God also calls on us to live in line with the creator’s will. 

“The time is coming when people…will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires.” – 2 Timothy 4:3
In difficult, confusing times, we all tend to lean toward what is most familiar and comfortable. We listen to those who reinforce what we already believe. When things aren’t going well, though, there is real benefit in listening to a variety of perspectives and voices. Our communities must work well in equitable ways, or they aren’t embodying the beloved community that God created. 

“If anyone says to you at that time, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’… – do not believe it.” – Mark 13:21
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus was addressing hair-on-fire, end-of-the-world fears in the community. Even Mark’s audience knew, and we certainly know, it wasn’t that dire. Since before Mark, though, and throughout history, stoking those fears has been a favorite tool of leaders who would manipulate people’s judgment, and making messianic claims of saving us from doom is idolatrous.   

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
Confident of God’s presence and care, attentive to the well-being of our whole community, and past the doom-saying and messianic hopes, we can focus on the values and virtues that we know to be enduring. We won’t all agree on what they are or exactly how they play out in our shared life; that’s part of the diversity God instilled in creation. But the apostle Paul encourages thoughtful and informed action based on lasting commitments to what we believe to be good.  

“Choose this day….” – Joshua 24:15


-Peter A. Pettit, teaching pastor

4 Comments on “Choose this day”

  • Sue Grove

    November 1, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    We need all the insight we can get in these unusual times. Thanks for sharing, Pastor Peter. We can hardly wait for the TV political blitz to be over. One more week…

  • Marcia Jensen

    October 28, 2022 at 12:08 am

    I need this! Have shared it with my peeps!

  • Irene Hanssen

    October 27, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    I would never thought of going to the Bible to get help as to how to vote. Many other things, yes.

  • Janette Schmidt

    October 27, 2022 at 1:45 pm

    Thank you!

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