The Common Good

Post-Election: Our Hope for the Future

Whether your guy won or whether your guy lost, do any of us believe that politicians or the political process can unite us or solve our nation's deepest troubles (the most serious of which are not economic)?

If you feel great or you feel lost, is your honest hope in a political messiah? Can our political leaders give us a vision of human flourishing that comes close to the personal and societal transformation available to us right now in the New Creation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

These idols we fashion, these men and women we are tempted to worship or in which we place our ultimate confidence, cannot heal us or bind up the wounds of America.

We are invited to another way by the words of John the Baptist: "Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near." If Jesus said "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you," why is it necessary to wait until we die to reach it? This is a question more and more of us are asking, but we are not only posing it. We are actively seeking this Kingdom first.

Christians have a place in the public square. With courage and humility we insist on our "first freedom," work within our government and (more than this) our culture to promote the authentic, the magnificent, the eternal, but the first call of every Christian is to be salt and light because we are the presence of the Kingdom among men.

This means demonstrating, by self-sacrificial love and service, given freely to all persons, that the Gospel is the entrance — the door — to an indisputably more blessed way of life, an abundant life that is simply unavailable to us from any other source. I believe this is so. More than that, I know it is. Many around us are looking for someone who is confident in the reality we have come to know and experience in Jesus Christ. Will we show them? Will we show him?

There's one way to show Jesus that too few of us grasp. Every celebrated Eucharist (Communion) has immense power to change the world, far more than any executive decision, act of Congress, or ruling of the Supreme Court. 

More happens in the world and in our lives when we exalt Jesus Christ together at his table than any other corporate human activity. The Lord's Supper has a political dimension. By it a future Kingdom is made present in our perishing one. This may not be readily apparent, its effects not immediately known, but it's real: "For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again."

The Rev. Kenneth Tanner is pastor of Church of the Holy Redeemer in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

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