Reflecting on the American Presidential Election from a church in Kitchener Waterloo

For those of us who watched, I think the majority were surprised as we watched the returns on Tuesday night and the imminence of ‘President Trump’ became increasingly clear.  The world on Wednesday morning, for me, felt different.  Trump’s, tone, message and campaign were undeniably different than Barack Obama’s optimistic call for unity and hope eight years ago.

No one knows what this will mean for America, for Canada and for the world.  That uncertainty and the rhetoric that has led us here has a lot of people worried.

The obvious move, for Christians, is to declare “God is on his throne!”  And we can and should put our trust in the God who demonstrates his love for all creation by coming near to us in the person of Jesus Christ.  But I’m not ready to slide there too easily without also remembering those who are hurting and broken.  God’s love isn’t limited to you or I, to a church, nation, culture, political party, ideology, or institution.

  • For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

And yet, Creation is groaning.  Maybe the groans have been louder in the past few days.  A few observations:

Society is fragmented.   For all the advances in technology, globalization, access to information and ease of communication, we don’t seem to know how to listen to each other.  I know firsthand, it’s easier to minimize or ignore disagreements than to empathetically listen to the other side.  It’s easier to assume, I’m right and you’re wrong, than to be suspicious of our own biases and limitations.  And so the electoral map is a microcosm of humanity: divided, fragmented, chaotic.

May God’s Spirit bring unity.

People are hurting.  There are those who are scared because their religious practice or ethnic background makes them different.  Some have (and will be) victimized by bigotry.  Some feel powerless.  Some have lost jobs.  Many feel they let down by their government and by their neighbours.  Most can see that something in our society is deeply broken.  We hurt, we shame, we blame and we reject one another.  Sadly, it’s part of the human story.

May Jesus bind the broken hearted.

People are angry.  They are angry that their voices haven’t been heard, they’ve felt marginalized and oppressed.  They are angry at an economy, a government, trade deals, an electoral process, healthcare options, environmental degradation and so much more, but most worrying– many are angry at the ‘other’.  Scapegoats are easy too find, demonizing and vilifying are strong temptations. but as we do, we deny one another’s humanity.

May we repent.  May we forgive.  May we be reconciled.

And yet, the gospel is still good news.  Our message is still a message of hope.  God is still on his throne.

So how can the church be a prophetic voice in this wilderness?  How can we prepare a way for the LORD?  Even better, what is God saying through the churches and to the churches at this time, on this day