Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Winds of Change

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
- Ephesians 4:29-32 (New Living Translation)

There’s a stiff breeze coming up from the south this morning. I hear the occasional rattle of my windows and the rustle of the few remaining sycamore and mulberry leaves as they’re blown from their respective branches. Seasons come, seasons go, and another season is changing. Summer has passed. Fall is slowly giving way. The winter snows will soon follow, to then be trailed by the blessed relief of spring in March. The sycamore and the mulberry will once more come to life. The crocuses will break through the sleepy ground. The sights and sounds of life will be everywhere.

As it is with nature, so it is with nations. The winds of change have swept over America. Barack Obama is our President-elect. The poet has won the day.

Change always strains at the status quo. This election cycle has had its share of vitriol. For months the internet and the airwaves have buzzed with slander, rumors, and lies, reflecting the deep sense of bitterness and anger that has descended upon us like a death shroud. For far too long we’ve embraced the bitter and refused the cup of brotherhood. We have gone beyond division; we have begun to tear ourselves asunder.

But change has come and with it, I believe, hope. The man of my choosing did not win this election, but the man who won is now my President-elect. It is time for the season of bitterness and hate to end. It is time for the balm of healing to be poured out on this wounded land.

Shortly after the electoral milestone was passed, Senator John McCain graciously accepted the will of the people. He seemed to understand the historic nature of what had happened and he rose to the moment. His words overflowed with grace, seeds for the grace we will all need in the months and years ahead:

“I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.”

In victory Barack Obama was equally gracious. Echoing the words of Dr. King he called us to embrace a difficult, yet promising future. “The climb will be steep,” he said. “We may not get there in one year, or one term, but I promise you as a people we will get there.” He reminded us of Lincoln’s words – “We are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection”

While the road ahead has become overgrown with the weeds of bitterness, hate, and self-indulgence, it is clear that our task now is to pluck them up by the roots and make straight in the wilderness a highway of brotherhood and common grace.

It has taken us a long time to get to where we are, and it will take time to undo what we have done. We who profess faith must now set our hands to the plow. For far too long we’ve sown the seeds of discord rather than plant words of healing. We’ve used our freedom to speak as a license to slander rather than as an avenue of blessing. As the apostle James observed:

“But no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?”

The winds of seasonal change are still rattling my windows. The leaves of the sycamore and the mulberry continue to fall. Change is coming. We cannot fight its inevitability, any more than we can hold the winds in the palms of our hands. We must embrace them as part of God’s righteous plan. And so it is with these winds of political change in America. We must now shed the outdated notion that we, as people of faith, are this nation’s sole arbiters of what is right and wrong and clothe ourselves anew with humility and grace. Only in walking that path can we become the people of faith and servants we have been called to be.

1 comment:

Jim Baxter said...

Last night, at his victory gathering, Obama restated his collectivist position on human value (and non-value) by-the-group.

He said, "...and instead of being a bunch of loose individuals, we will be states united..."

His glassy-eyed supporters still don't get it! No wonder. It was a Christian initiative that gave individual value to the human family. They obviously do not read The Word. See: Matthew 27:51 Mark 15:38 Luke 23:45 KJV

Jim Baxter
Psalm 25:12 kjv

Collectivism is not innocent.t is fundamental to Socialism.