ELECTION DAY…BUT…

I have just returned from voting. The physical dimension of it was painless. No long lines, no registration hiccups, no confusion of how to actually fill out the ballot. 
 
As my next door neighbor said, “The pain starts tomorrow.”
Well, maybe.

My first voting opportunity was George McGovern vs Richard Nixon in 1972. The 18 year old voting age didn’t start until March 1971, so I missed Hubert Humphrey vs Nixon in 1968. That was a very close race. 1972 was a blowout for Nixon. And then we had to go through the Watergate debacle. But we survived to be able to vote today for the 2 least liked candidates in modern history. And, honestly, that’s all I have to say about that. No matter who you voted for or disliked the least,  I’m trusting for a reasonably peaceful transfer of political power in this country.
 
And far more than that, we need to remember again our clearest identity as followers of Jesus. Peter helps us here: “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against your soul.” ( 1 Peter 2:11).
 
Sojourner- A temporary resident, passing through a country that is not their own.
 
Alien- Someone who has no claim whatsoever in the territory he is presently occupying.
But as we sojourn, we continue to have confidence in a Creator who thinks He owns everything and a Lord who acts sovereignly in and through the affairs of all creatures. Not that we are ever excused from acting righteously and responsibly in our present pilgrim (yet another identifying mark for a Jesus follower) state, but we do so with the knowledge that we follow a God who is working out His plan for the future.
 
Which brings me to our annual conference in Toledo this coming April. First, I am genuinely grateful for the transfer of leadership that will pass on to Tom Kelby officially at that event. But I’m also loving the particular focus being put together for this conference. Tom has been diligently studying and writing and teaching (in Bangladesh and the Philippines) from the book of Revelation. In my years as a pastor/preacher I have mostly navigated around Revelation. I’m certainly not proud of that but I never got that straightened out in a healthy way. But I’ve heard a bit of Tom’s engagement of this revelation of Jesus and how it deeply affects all of us, right now as we seek to shepherd the flock of God through turbulent times. That’s the context of the book and I am very glad that Tom will help all of us sojourners and leaders as we help God’s people thrrough our own tumult .
 
I’ll find out in a few hours who will be our next president. But I know who remains our Sovereign Lord and Good Shepherd. At this very moment. And in April I am hoping to get a deeper sense of how He continues to speak to us from His eternal word.
 
Looking forward to it even now. And to see all of you once again.
 
Peace and grace.
To the United States of America and to all our people in the Alliance for Renewal Churches.
And to all the sojourners of Jesus scattered throughout creation.