May The Spirit of The Lord Be Upon Us all
Next week’s election day will be consequential in ways we have not seen in a very long time. We come to it during such extraordinary circumstances that only those from the Greatest Generation who are still alive might have experienced something similar. I pray the Spirit of the Lord be upon us all in the coming days.
Obviously we could not have predicted a world pandemic. But we could and still can face it in a much more smart and loving way. We can make choices on behalf of the other we might never meet, but that Jesus has told us is equal and family to us, so much so that the Scriptures remind us we are not just family but co-heirs as God’s children.
What we could have predicted and stopped was the self-inflicted acrimony and division with which we come to this momentous election in our country. A large part of the source of that division is that there are many sowing conflict because it suits them to gain or retain power. But the power this division has is because so many of us have decided to believe them and follow into hate. Sadly, we also find many in our faith family neck deep in the cajoling for political and temporal power to be able to rule and control others. There is still time to say no. It is never too late to leave hate behind and begin the journey to love.
It is with the above and more in mind that I share this with you less than a week before that momentous day. I know we Americans are prone to hyperbole, but this one case does offer us a chance to use momentous day in a very appropriate way. So I share this with you to encourage us all to hold fast to Scripture, surrender to Christ, and hold on to each other in love regardless of opinions.
So what does the Lord require of us all in these historic times?
To do justice- to look beyond ourselves and ask, is what they are going through just? Is their pain caused by injustice? Is my fear, worry, desire to keep my position causing injustice elsewhere? Then do something about it.
To love mercy and kindness- not to use kindness to get along or to get what I want. But to love it, to share it with the passion only those who love deeply can muster. To share mercy so freely and actively that those around us cannot help but see and feel it pouring out of us. Love mercy and kindness so much people might dislike our position but cannot doubt our love for them.
To walk humbly- the only way justice and mercy can flow into the world is to do so humbly. To surrender enough to know that I alone am not a good judge of what is just for all. To face that often I do not know better than those seeking and crying out for justice. To know that to extend mercy is much more than a gift given to those below me or those I love. To surrender to the fact that to love mercy is to share it regardless of my own discomfort and prejudices.
Therefore, as we prepare to face this election under the call of Scripture, as Micah 6:8 rings in our souls we must ask: who should we have in mind as we do justice and love mercy? Who do we see in our mind and heart as we walk humbly and vote? Another way of saying this would be-
who should we have in mind as the Spirit of the Lord descends upon us all?
The poor, the captives, the blind, the oppressed.
Is the justice we do because of our love of mercy bringing good news to the poor? Are we humbly and justly proclaiming release to captives? Can sight be recovered in this just and merciful answer to Jesus’ call?
Is bringing freedom to the captives a goal as we answer the call to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God?
Will Jesus’ call in Luke 4:18 be in your mind and heart as you exercise you freedom to vote?
Let’s hear that call again,
Luke 4:18-19 (NRSV) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
We do not know what the outcome of the election will be. But we do know that in order to answer Micah and Jesus’ call we must be present. Whatever happens, always remember-
show up, stand firm, love deeply and repeat as necessary
You are not alone. We are not alone. Jesus and the Spirit walk ahead and with us.
Rev. Douglas Avilesbernal