Maybe it’s because I already voted, but I am heart-and-mind-weary-to-the-bone of this political campaign season. Has it really only been fifteen months? Do we really only get thirty-three months off before it begins all over again? Yes, as it turns out. My generation is finally incurring the costs of democracy familiar to previous American generations and democracies around the world. It’s hard work getting along with people who experience the same culture, the same economy in profoundly different ways. Understanding civics, studying issues, having conversations, making decisions and reaching consensus is difficult, time-consuming work for citizens. Being authentic, speaking truthfully, debating respectfully, leading wisely, winning with humility and losing with grace require a depth of character rare among professional politicians.
I’ve been preaching the prophets all fall – major and minor preachers pleading with citizens to wake up to the reality that their country is in pretty dire straits, mostly because they failed at being faithful in a way God deemed faithful. Who’s to say what constitutes a faithful comparison between them and us, between then and now? A braver preacher than me, for sure. Even the prophets themselves don’t agree on the details of those failures. Some focus on their foreign alliances, pointing out that God clearly said, no foreign alliances. Others were especially intent on their neglect of the poor, reminding them of God’s multiple rules to take care of the poor, the widow and the stranger (read immigrant) among you. But upon one point every prophet agrees, from 1st Isaiah to little Haggai, that no matter the people’s stubbornness or obedience, whether at home or in exile, even despite the punishment dealt them for their disobedience, God was going to stay with them. Beginning to end. There and back again.
Which comforts me too, here in the last days of one political season, looking toward an unknown new one. Who’s to say what we’re in for? Only one thing is for sure: God is with us.