This month we celebrate Independence Day, our national remembrance of the founding of our nation in freedom. A year ago, Deborah and I visited Philadelphia and went again to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Christ Church, and many other historic sites. Last October, we were also able to go to Williamsburg, Virginia for a few days. It was wonderful to relive the beginnings of our nation. I heard a stirring speech by Thomas Jefferson and was able to thank him for this (every day some of the important people from our colonial history come “alive” through amazing actors who perform “living history”).
Over the summer, we will also have the mixed experience of the election season heating up as we look to the fall voting. Our mailboxes, airwaves, and internet will be full of politics! Part of me enjoys the political season, but part of me also dreads this, especially the divisiveness which seems to go with it.
Within our parish, we have many political views represented. This is good; we do not need to agree on things like this to be a parish community. As disciples of Jesus, we do all have a shared vision of what God desires for humanity. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul said, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” According to Paul, God’s will for all people is that we be one. Ultimately, it does not matter if we are Republican or Democrat, black or white, gay or straight; we are one in Christ Jesus.
In this political time of year, we have a Christian witness to make that we all belong in God’s kingdom, that love and unity are the most important values, that we are reconciled to God and to one another in Christ. In the midst of the divisiveness and bickering that sometimes comes in our elections, we can be people of justice, understanding, reconciliation, and healing. This may be the most important contribution we can make as citizens of the United States who are followers of Jesus Christ.
I wish us all a good Independence Day and an exciting, positive, and constructive election season! `