Thoughts about the US Election in the New Year

General Minister and President Sharon E. Watkins

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

I lie down and sleep;

I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. Ps 3:5 (NRSV)

As we awake to this day after the election, some things have not changed. Whether we are rejoicing or we are feeling stunned and disappointed, the Gospel still calls us to love God first of all with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. It calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. In the story of the Good Samaritan, where the hero is the racial, religious minority, Jesus reminds us that our neighbor is the one, next door or around the world, who shows mercy. Jesus calls us to show mercy and to receive mercy. Jesus calls us to “love one another.” (John 13:34)

The Gospel does not change with an election; what the Gospel requires of us does not change. Jesus’ first inaugural address began with these words, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” (Luke 4:18) God, now and always, is on the side of the poor, and we who follow Jesus must be also. No matter who is in charge of our governments, we are charged with loving God and loving neighbor, even in costly, self-sacrificial ways. We are called to be loyal to the reign of God.

American Disciples, as part of a movement for wholeness, will no doubt struggle to regain our footing with each other in these immediate days. This was a bitter, divisive campaign. The echoes will continue to reverberate for a while. To those who are rejoicing, we recall “…but (if I) have not love, I gain nothing.” (I Cor. 13:3) To those who are fearful this day: “Perfect love drives out fear.” (I John 4:18

On this day, our job as disciples of Christ, is still the same as it was yesterday, as it will be tomorrow—to proclaim by what we say and what we do that God is a God of love, and we are people of love—for all God’s children. Our call is to work together for the common good, to welcome

all to the table, people of all races, ages, gender identities, abilities, religions, and yes, politics, and to find ways to work together to extend to each other—across the whole human family—the abundance of a generous God. 

No matter who won the election, today we Disciples are still a pro-reconciling/anti-racist church. We are still a church that works tirelessly, led by Disciples women (clergy and lay), to end human trafficking; a church that welcomes more refugees and immigrants than almost any other compared to our size; a church seeking to offer grace and welcome to LGBTQ brothers and sisters; that shares with Christian and interfaith partners around the globe; that seeks to walk lightly on this earth. Today we are still a movement for wholeness. We are still a church seeking to be diverse but not divided in Christ.

We are still a church that will gather together at the Lord’s Table, celebrating our unity in Christ. And we are a church that, no matter what political affiliations we have, will pray together each week, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” We will join our hands and hearts to make it so.