October Communique Letter

Dear brothers and sisters,

What a tumultuous time we are in: pandemic, racial strife, economic struggle, political turmoil, and what might be called “unsocial media” frenzy.  

How are we as believers in Jesus to respond? 

First of all, we should not be surprised by all the signs of the fallenness of the world. Instead we should be always amazed that the Lord has extended his grace towards us. We are called to always rejoice in the Lord, no matter what (Philippians 4:4).

Secondly, as grateful as we should be for our country and its freedoms, we need to remember that we are only temporary citizens in a far-from-perfect and also temporary Nation. Our primary focus and hope must therefore not be on any kingdom here. As Paul reminds us, “. . . our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Along these lines, I commend the letter below that the Rev. David Trautman shared with his parish. Please pray for our Nation and its leaders in this decisive month, regardless of the election results. Most of all pray that we as the Church, whatever our political positions, would remain unified under the Lord Jesus, the only eternal ruler of all things who is worthy of all praise and honor. 

May the Lord Jesus bless you all in everything you face, enabling you to rejoice in the midst of all things. 

In Jesus the Messiah,

+Neil

 


A Pastoral Letter during an Election

Dear Trinity family, 
The Rev. John Wesley was an Anglican priest and founder of the Methodist movement. On October 6, 1774, he made the following entry in his journal:

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”


Two-hundred and forty-six years later, Wesley’s advice continues to ring true today. There are powerful forces in our world and culture that incite us to speak evil of people made in the image of God and sharpen our spirits against one another. This is especially true in election season. Don’t do it! This is not of the Lord. This is the work of Satan and the forces of evil. We can and should engage in respectful dialogue and conversation about important matters of faith and life, including politics. But when we disagree, we must not allow our hearts and minds to fill with hate for others. I have profound disagreements with some of my closest friends and brothers in Christ. We can disagree and still love and value one another. The world wants us to seek first power in this world and the rightness of my side. But Jesus says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew6:33).

As your pastor, I want to add to John Wesley’s advice with four practical suggestions for how you can seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness over the next month:

  1. Pray more than you post. If you haven’t prayed about it, then you probably aren’t ready to post about it. Let God’s voice be primary in your heart and mind.
  2. I strongly encourage you to consider going off social media for the next month, or at least greatly limiting the amount of time you spend on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc). Social media has turned into a cesspool of misinformation, vicious attacks, and a breeding ground for hate. Jesus says, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off” (Matthew 5:30). If social media is a stumbling block for you, maybe it isn’t worth it for the next month. However, if you decide you must engage in discussion on social media, I would urge you to follow the guidance given by Archbishop Foley Beach.
  3. If you have already firmly decided who you will vote for in the upcoming election, consider completely unplugging from the news, debates, and political commentary between now and the election. If your mind is already made up, these sources will only serve to sharpen your spirit against people voting on the other side. It is better to cut it off.
  4. Meditate on Scripture daily. As a congregation we will be meditating on Psalm 23 for the month of October. In addition, I want to ask all of us to meditate on Romans 12:9–21. These are key verses for Christians engaging with the world, and I believe they are a word for us today.


I am praying for each of you and for the upcoming election. No matter the outcome, the Kingdom of God is never in danger. We know that one day His kingdom will come on this earth and set all things right. This is our Christian hope. Our greatest allegiance is not to party or person, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not divided. What unites us as Christians is infinitely greater than what divides us. Remember this. 

In Christ,
David+