remembering the challenges facing Lincoln on this election day

Unless a hanging chad or an Electoral College tie stirs widespread anxiety, some time Tuesday night or Wednesday morning roughly 48% of likely voters will experience mild to severe disappointment.    Hopefully, at least half of all voters experience some measure of happiness.   I need no powers of prophecy to predict that: some will cry foul, some will pledge to move to Canada, some will forward hateful emails, some will speak of conspiracy, and some will file lawsuits.  Having spent 6 billion on an election, we may not easy divest ourselves of the results.

As a Christian, I believe Jesus will be my Lord on November 7.  God will be God.  On January 21, 2013: people will need jobs, our schools could be better, our debt will be high, too many people will line up outside our Henry Center needing food and groceries, and some will resort to terror and murder to push their agenda.   Having prayed for 40 days for President Obama and Governor Romney, I plan to pray for our nation and whoever takes the oath of office on Inauguration Day.

In the midst of a terrible Civil War Abraham Lincoln took his second oath of office.  It is hard to imagine the bleakness of January 1865.   Two percent of the US population or 620,000 people perished in the Civil War.  On a single day during the Battle of Antietam 23,000 men died.

Lincoln spoke of God’s sovereignty, justice and judgment. Lincoln expounded on Matthew 18:7.  Lincoln spoke of the high costs of the ongoing struggle while looking towards rebuilding the nation.   Lincoln’s words contain hope that perhaps we need to hear.

Lincoln spoke of human division and God’s sovereignty:  “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. …  The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes ….. “    After addressing the unknown length of the terrible ongoing war, Lincoln spoke of the duty to rebuild:  “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with the world.”

Lincoln calls for high ideals, sacred duty and civil work.  These may seem alien and impractical concepts for a populous accustomed to polling and pandering.   Some get very angry at the current state governance.  Anger usually ends in destruction.  Will we summon the moral courage and firm resolve to establish a more perfect union, or complain about our current state of affairs?  Our God does not stand aloof from the world but enters into the human muck in order to bring redemption.  Let us do no less than follow Christ.  No matter who wins our election, our nation and world desperately need the courage, charity, compassion and conviction of Jesus Christ.  Let us live asking, “what can I do to serve God, imitate Christ, assist my neighbor, serve my nation, and heal my world?”   Our resolve to build a better neighborhood and nation may seed in us deeper peace.

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