We Have One King

By Andy McQuitty

I’m sporting my natty “I Voted Today” sticker right now. I got the deed done early on this election day, and it was no small task for me given the character challenges of both candidates. But I powered through, took my Christian citizenship responsibility seriously, focused on “policy not people” and wielded my sharpie in the bubble for the candidates I believe will hurt my beloved America the least. Hallelujah, my long march is over. I know, this election has been taking up space in our heads for 18 months now, and being talked at ad nauseam by candidates, commentators, pollsters, and robocallers has been a doozy.

By the time you are reading this, the dreadful election of 2016, will be at an end. But already I am at peace without even knowing who won. Having Pastor Barry Jones remind me Sunday at IBC that “on Wednesday morning we’ll all wake up with a new president but we only ever have one King. . .and his name is Jesus” was a great comfort. I needed the reminder that more important than the question, “What’s going to happen to me if ______________ wins?” is the question, “How shall I live as a Christ-following missionary disciple no matter who wins?” The former is a fear question. The latter is a faith question. The former question has to do with my comfort as a citizen of the United States of America. The latter question has to do with my mission as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.

As I stood in a very long line this morning to cast my ballot, I started thinking about the whole comfort versus mission dichotomy in light of my growing impatience. I realized how selfish and soft I’ve become living the good life in the USA. I’m glad George Washington’s sick and starving troops suffering through the winter at Valley Forge were tougher than me and that the courageous minorities and women who waged long, sometimes violent struggles to guarantee voting privileges were braver than me. These heroes suffered far worse for the chance to have a say in their government than I ever will because they understood how precious it was. Richard John Neuhaus explains why our participation is precious:

Why do we want everybody to work and everybody to participate? Because it is premised upon not just a vacuous notion of freedom, but a very deep respect for what John Paul II calls the subjectivity of society – the sheer magnificent diversity of human beings, when they are free, to imagine and to love and to associate. Tocqueville, when he came in the 1830s, saw in America the future of the world – not without some shadowed aspects, very deeply shadowed – but he saw a promise of a new way. And we, for better or for worse, and all undeserving on our part, represent that Tocquevillian possibility for the human project.

But vital as our democratic freedoms in elections and wise as “the sheer magnificent diversity of human beings” are, there’s something even more precious that casting votes, and that’s trusting God. He is the sovereign Lord of the Universe. Lifting up and putting down in an American national election is small fry for him. It’s him we need to trust above all. But that’s a challenge because on election day, all we see is each other. As I stood in line today observing suburban moms with wide-eyed kids in tow, a country music singer, my two-doors-down neighbor, crisply pressed professionals on their way to the office, mechanics, and at least one cowboy with work-callused hands, and teenagers probably right out of high school, I’m wondering who they’re trusting for the future. Politicians? The wise American electorate? I know that’s what I’m tempted to trust, and I’m really trying to turn my eyes Heavenward, along with theirs.

So please now God . . . Bless America.

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