A word from Pastor Jennifer

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The Stars are Named (Psalm 146; 1 – 4) by Joanne Weis

The Stars are Named (Psalm 146; 1 – 4) by Joanne Weis

Peace be with  you.  Last night our ecumenical Election Day Communion Service included prayers of confession and hymns familiar to the different Christian traditions represented. Several local pastors with whom I’ve worked closely–one Lutheran, another United Methodist and a third Mennonite shared short Christian perspectives on civic and political engagement.  Recognizing that we have different loyalties to political parties, and different voting traditions, our theme in worship was Christian unity.  We proclaimed our primary allegiance to God through Jesus Christ, which puts all other commitments in proper perspective.  I was moved by the inclusion of Psalm 146 in the order of worship.  I’ve been reciting this psalm daily for the past month.  The psalmist warns of the dangers of placing our trust or hope in anyone but God.

Do not put your trust in princes,

in mortals from whom there is no help.  

When their breath departs they return to the earth;  

on that very day their plans perish.  

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord their God.  

Where are we placing our hope?  Is our hope in the political process of the United States of America?  If so, then a surprising or upsetting outcome of a presidential election might be an opportunity to be reoriented toward the true source of life, help and hope.

Like a movement song, this psalm sings a political platform that distinguishes God and the people of God from other powerful interests in society.  Doesn’t it remind you of the life, ministry, and teaching of Jesus Christ?

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

    whose hope is in the Lord their God…

who keeps faith forever;

     who executes justice for the oppressed;

    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

    the Lord loves the righteous.

The Lord watches over the strangers;

    upholds the orphan and the widow,

    and brings to ruin the way of the wicked.

From a gospel perspective the princes, presidents and prime ministers of the world take a backseat to the Prince of Peace.  As representatives of Jesus Christ we have a powerful platform from which to influence the broader society, but we don’t have control over it.  When we gather Sunday for worship in Jesus’ name and when we scatter across the community in Jesus’ name we are “staffers” in a campaign of faithful love, justice and peace.  The people of God have lived through losses and victories before without losing heart or losing sight of the kingdom Jesus proclaimed and lived.  May it be so among us as well.

In Christ,

Pastor Jennifer