“O where are kings and empires now

Of old that went and came?

But, Lord, Thy Church is praying yet,

A thousand years the same.”

                                                     (Arthur Cleveland Cox. 1839)

On this election day, in this confusing cultural and national context, for those of us who are the people of God in Jesus Christ, … it is also an appropriate  time for us to remember that Caesar is not God! … to remember that we have one Lord in Jesus Christ, who alone is the one who ultimately rules over all! Yes, and along with that, also to remember that the empire is not sovereign. We do indeed serve as salt and light in its midst, … we can be co-belligerents with all of those who are instruments of peace and order and righteousness, … but never captive, collaborators as they pursue the ethic of God’s new creation, but always answerable to our one Lord. We can seek to influence the policies of a political party, but never selling our soul to the principalities and powers that espouse prejudice, greed, unrighteousness, inhumane policies, and who demean “the least of these” who are the objects of God’s love.

And, yes, the privilege of voting is a stewardship, but it must not be mindless, but rather articulate. Referenda on environmental issues, and racial equality, and on the stewardship of resources should be part of our ‘salt and light’ calling. We should not be passive or indifferent to the implications in holy obedience to Christ our Lord.

As the hymn (above) states, Christ’s church has weathered and transcended the demise of many kingdoms and empires, and has often been a formative influence in the emergence of new temporal nations. So, yes, we can and should be co-belligerents with all the forces of good, but never conformed or captive to those which espouse policies of darkness.

It was Martin Luther King, Jr., who when charged with violating the local laws (on segregation), responded: “I appeal to a higher law!” He, along with many others became forces of change, and of the repeal of the laws that were contrary to God’s design for humankind.

This battle is never done.

We have watched, in recent time, acts of violence and rage which took many innocent lives. We have seen the power of lobbies that protect the possibility of such violence (like, gun control). It is at such moments as this that we need to remember that God’s design for human governments is peace and order and justice, … and that’s where our focus as God’s new creation people, i.e. kingdom people, needs to be, and where our participation is essential if we are to truly be salt and light.

“Unshaken as eternal hills,

Immovable she stands,

A mountain that shall fill the earth,

                    A house not made with hands”         -ibid-


About rthenderson

Sixty years a pastor-teacher within the Presbyterian Church. Author of several books, the latest of which are a trilogy on missional ecclesiology: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH, then, REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE, then THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS. Previous to this trilogy was A DOOR OF HOPE: SPIRITUAL CONFLICT IN PASTORAL MINISTRY, and SUBVERSIVE JESUS, RADICAL FAITH. I am a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, a graduate of Davidson College, then of Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.
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One Response to BLOG 11/6/18. ON THIS ELECTION DAY

  1. Sarah Estes says:


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