[Below is a portion of my November 13, 2016 sermon, the Sunday after the election of Donald Trump. I offer it again on this day after his inauguration as a way to help our country move forward together, especially for people of faith.]
Many of us continue to feel the highs and the lows of the recent presidential election. Regardless of who we supported with our vote, this election cycle has led us through many twists and turns throughout the very long campaign. It has been a roller coaster ride like no other.
In many ways, our presidential election process has felt like a country music song, that has taken us all on quite an adventure that has included many surprising detours and an election result that has left people from both of our political parties speechless.
In light of this past week’s election, there are many people which includes half the country who are very hopeful for the future. They see our next president as someone who will make needed changes in our country that our present elected officials have not been able to accomplish.
At the same time, the other half of the voters in our country, while trying to have an open mind, are very worried, fearful, and concerned about how this change in the oval office will impact the lives of immigrants, minorities, and the LGBT community. These fears are very real and concern many of us greatly.
How do we move forward as a country? No matter who we voted for this week, this is a question all of us have been asking these last few days.
As your pastor, I want to offer some thoughts on how we as a people of faith can move forward and find unity. I pray that these will be helpful to you.
The first thing is to pray. Pray for President Obama who is our president now, and pray for our next president, Donald Trump as he prepares to take office. The scriptures are pretty clear that we are to pray for those who are in positions of authority. So the first thing is for us to continue to pray that their leadership will ensure freedom and justice for all.
The second thing we need to do, and this is the challenge for those of us who may not have voted for Donald Trump. We need to come together as a country and work toward unity while at the same time, be faithful to our beliefs and core values about what is right, what is wrong, and what is unjust. Holding our elected leaders accountable and working toward unity as a country are not mutually exclusive things.
REMEMBER, WE ARE CITIZENS OF GOD'S KINGDOM!
Here’s the third thing. As people of faith, let’s remember that as followers of Christ, we are first and foremost, citizens of God’s kingdom. And this means that we recognize Jesus Christ to be the true Ruler, Savior, and Just Judge over all creation.
LISTEN TO EACH OTHER!
And then this fourth thing which came to me 9 o’clock last night. God just hit me with this out of the blue. The fourth thing is for us to actually listen to each other’s hopes, joys, fears, and pain. And I’m not just talking about listening to the people who agree with us, but especially with the people who think differently than the way we do.
This is hard stuff, because it means that maybe I should do less talking and more listening. And you know what? Confession time. I personally really stink at that. That’s why I think God gave this to me at 9 o’clock last night! A wise friend once told me to do these three things. Listen. Listen. Listen. I forget these all the time! What are the three things again?
I don’t offer this as an easy answer in how we move forward as a country. I offer these thoughts to remind us that no matter how many twists and turns our country has faced over this past election cycle, not to mention the twists and turns that remain for us as a country in the future, this presidential transition is not something that God can’t handle.
God’s got this. God’s got this because God has always been faithful.