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Strengthen What Remains, part 1:

I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.—Revelations 3: 1b-2

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:38-39

We are nearing the end of a deeply divisive election, a struggle for control of this country that has energized and polarized many Christians on both sides of the  partisan divide. While the campaign lasts, the danger is that we may give so much attention and energy to this struggle that we neglect the more important struggle between love and fear, honesty and chicanery, discipline and self-indulgence, cliqueishness and neighborliness, that takes place within every party and every person.

After Election Day there is another danger. Whichever party gains power, there is a risk that its adherents may feel that their work is done and fall back into distractions, and its opponents may despair.

But neither party will end the wastefulness of the consumer economy or the degradation of the environment, and neither party will stop us from practicing thrift and learning to provide sustainably for ourselves and our neighbors. Neither party can legislate away fear, prejudice and resentment between black and white, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim … and neither party will stop us from working with and for neighbors from different backgrounds and learning to love them.

Therefore we have hope. We don’t have to wait for the majority to vote God’s Kingdom in. We can start living, here and now, as citizens of that Kingdom, making it more visible on earth.

Therefore, also, we have a responsibility. We can’t just blame the problems of our earth, our nation, our children, on other people who won’t vote with us. Whoever governs, we remain, individually, our brothers’ keepers.

Of course we will fail in this responsibility, over and over again.  But if we acknowledge the responsibility and the failure and turn back to God, His grace will sustain us and give us strength to try again.  For nothing—neither the faults of our leaders, nor our own faults—can separate us from the love of God.

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