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reconciling power and faith

It appears that to get anything done in America, we need to have power. People in power guide the country, guide our communities, guide our schools, and even guide our families.

But what does it mean to reconcile power with faith?

Do people of faith need power to do the work of God?

If you’ve ever been behind the scenes, you know that sometimes, powerful people expect to get their way. They do a favor for your organization and want a voice in return. They give money to your school and want special treatment for their children. The underlying expectation is that if I do something for you, someday, I expect that you will repay me.

Because this is apparently how the world works, we find ourselves drawn to these powerful people, believing that power is necessary to live a good life. It follows that if we want to have power, we connect with the powerful, but the question we have to ask ourselves is if this proximity is worth it.

Are we seeking power for power’s sake, or is true power a byproduct we receive from living a life focused on God?

If we follow Jesus, the answer is clear. Jesus’ power was not transactional. Jesus gave up everything for his ministry and gained more followers than any of us could ever have. On Holy Thursday, he got down on his knees and washed the feet of his disciples, an act of love. On Good Friday, he stayed up on the cross, showing us that when we relinquish all power, we will gain eternal life.

People were attracted to early Christianity because the power was shared in those communities. The poor and the rich ate together, listening and learning about one another and working together to create a better life for everybody. Early Christianity grew because Christians redefined what power meant: that all voices matter.

Somehow, though, in late 2020, Christians across America justify voting for a man who is known for making “deals,” the very sort of power Jesus eschews. Knowing what we know about Jesus, we should be voting for people who are willing to listen and to understand; people who care about every voice, not just the voices of those who agree with them. Jesus was for all, not the select few.

America is a country filled with all of the diversity God’s people bring. We come from different backgrounds, faith practices, ethnicities, and financial means. We are a country who claims to be of the people for the people and by the people. It is time to remember that this foundational power is meant to be shared. Make your voting plan today. Our voices matter.

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