Rev. Charles Drew is pastor of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in New York City, an evangelical church serving Morningside Heights, New York, with a particular focus on Columbia Univeristy, other nearby schools, and the local poor. He is the author of The Ancient Love Song: Finding Christ in the Old Testament, A Journey Worth Taking: Finding Your Purpose in This World, and Body Broken: Can Republicans and Democrats Sit in the Same Pew.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."
The Lord has been making all things new for two thousand years. Through his people (and sometimes despite them!) he has been pushing back the darkness, raising his hand against all the “former things,” anticipating that day when earth and heaven will wed. Everything matters to him, including the present election cycle. So it must matter to us, his people.
"But what can I do?" you may ask. "There are so many candidates, all talking about problems that are so big, and I am only one person—and there's already so much else going on in my life!"
My honest answer is that you should just do something to acknowledge God's concern for the election process, however insignificant your action may seem.
One of the best ways to start is to pick a candidate and pray for her (or him) every day for thirty days. Pray that your candidate will learn to champion what matters to Jesus, even if he or she does not yet know him.
Next, you can walk through at least one door that the Lord is opening this month, whatever its size. Jesus is always opening doors for his people to witness to and demonstrate his life-giving hope in their lives, even when politics and civic obligation are part of their lives: Maybe a friend wants to talk about immigration or abortion over a cup of coffee. Maybe your schedule has opened up and you have the room to attend a PTA meeting or a city council town hall. Maybe a powerful group of people wants you to run for local office.
Whatever you do and whatever doors the Lord opens for you, know that Jesus wants you to love your neighbor as yourself. If you want that bothersome person to listen to you, then you will need to listen to him. If you don’t want to be racially stereotyped, then you will need to stop stereotyping the “racists” you encounter. If you want decent education for your children then you will need to seek it for your neighbor’s children, as well.
But perhaps the most heartening encouragement is to know that you don’t have to “win.” In fact, you're in good company if you don’t: Jesus didn’t seem to win on Good Friday, but God has still been able to grow his church in the world and will still be able to make all things new. Pray this month for that truth to settle even more deeply into your heart.
Learn to Pray for Politics
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Rev. Charles Drew is pastor of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church in New York City, an evangelical church with a particular focus on Columbia Univeristy, nearby schools, and the local poor. He is the author of several books, including Body Broken: Can Republicans and Democrats Sit in the Same Pew?. He and his wife live and minister in New York City.