First United Methodist Church, Lewistown, PA 17044  ~  717-248-4618   ~  fumc200@outlook.com

Running the gauntlet

November 7, 2016

    I vote. I accept this right of my citizenship in the USA and count it a privilege. Can I say that all my candidates have won their elections over the years? Nope.  Have I quit voting because all my candidates didn't win? Nope. There is one thing that does get to me though. I feel like I am running a gauntlet when I approach the polling entrance. I intentionally avoid personal contact with the multitude of volunteers who stand outside the polling place. I appreciate their devotion to the candidate they choose to support. I do get irritated when they step toward me (sometimes in front of me) with their hand outstretched as they offer me a gift on behalf of their candidate.

     I choose to vote because I still believe my vote counts. I have never been persuaded to change my vote selections because of the little handouts and trinkets volunteers hand out at the voting location.     My convictions are fairly firm and I live out of those foundational underpinnings. Please do not insult my intelligence by using small bribes to get me to change my mind.

    In this election, there is a great tug of war from both sides toward voters. Why just yesterday prior to the Steeler and Raven's football game, I counted 6 or 7 political advertisements back to back to back to... well you get the idea. Not one of those ads described how the candidate would make USA or the state of PA prosperous, how jobs would be created, or how our health and security would be improved. All the ads were negative and incendiary. None of the ads swayed me in any way to change my vote. 

    One could argue that I am set in my ways and would not change my mind no matter what. I disagree.

Tomorrow, when I approach the polling place, I will vote for candidate X, but if volunteers for candidate Z were to tell me of their candidates financial donations to local and regional charities and how I could receive a fingernail file as a reminder of the donation, I might reconsider. What would it look and sound like if the candidates across all national, state, and local races chose to present positive ways forward?

    I'm sure we have moved far beyond the civil and balanced landscape of political contests. We have devolved into a place where the more dirt one can present on the other candidate the better. Tomorrow will be another election cycle and I will vote. I will also walk resolutely to the polling entrance. I apologize up front if you are there volunteering for your candidate and I ignore you. Just know that if you are volunteering for my candidate, I will still ignore you. Sorry, no, not sorry.

    As a citizen, I will vote, I will pray for those who win political office and for those who do not. At the end of tomorrow, I will pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ. he is the ultimate authority in my life and I know he has the final word in all things. According to Romans 13, God watches over elections and governments and uses each one in the Grand Design of His story. 

        "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which

        God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who

        rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring

        judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do

        you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend

        you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the

        sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 

        Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also  

        because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give

        their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then

        revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." (Romans 13:1-7, NIV)

After tomorrow, please find ways to honor and respect each other no matter your political persuasion. If you can do this, then you'll have fulfilled God's command.

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