Beyond Politics

Life Notes—November 8, 2012 

“Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’  When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.” Matthew 22:21b-22

Phew, another election season finally comes to a close!  Many in our country are breathing a sigh of relief that certain disaster has been averted.  Others are wondering how best to plan for the impending doom.  I think most of us are just relieved to finally be free of the so-beyond-annoying political ads, commercials and robo-calls, at least until the next election cycle.  I heard one estimate that the two presidential campaigns, alone, will have spent about $2 billion dollars by this time.  Personally, I wonder in how many different ways that money could have been better spent…

I think it is easy to think of divisive politics being a fairly recent, or a fairly American phenomenon.  But it most certainly is not.  Even in Jesus’ day, politics were rampant and passionate.  Leading up to the passage above Jesus is asked whether people should pay their taxes.  In one of his many brilliant responses he told the questioner to give to the government that which belongs to the government, but to give to God that which belongs to God.  Could he have made any clearer there is a distinct difference between what is of the earth and what is of heaven?  The followers of Jesus expected his kingdom to be an earthly kingdom.  They expected him to rule like a king, to overthrow the government and to exercise power over their enemies as the Romans exercised authority over them.  They were so disappointed when Jesus made clear he would not be ascending to that type of throne, many joined the chorus to have him crucified.  Talk about politically divisive!

Am I implying politics do not matter?  Certainly not!  Political issues and our involvement in them cannot be separated from our obligation to be an integral part of the life and lives around us.  We cannot simply divorce ourselves from the life around us and call ourselves followers of Christ.  All I am saying is that politics is not, nor will it ever be the be-all, end-all we are sometimes led to believe.  Certainly we should pray for our newly-elected or re-elected leaders, and we should render to them that which is their due from loyal citizens.  But we should also remember that God is supreme.  God has always been supreme.  God will always be supreme, no matter which political party is in power.  And for that, along with the absence of political ads, we can be truly thankful!

Tom is preaching at all services this Sunday.  Life worship downtown is at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  West campus worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.  He will give the third in the “Beautiful and Abundant” series, titled, “Is it Contagious?”

Come home to church this Sunday.  I am Greg Hildenbrand and I approved this message.

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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