When President Obama ran for office, he made promises of Hope and the Change We Need. Trump wanted to Make America Great Again. George W. Bush said, Yes America Can!
Underlying all the campaign slogans and promises is a message of hope. A vision for a better future predicated on a political party and execution of policy. Politics is a rallying cry to give people something politicians believe they’re lacking: hope.
Unfortunately, the promises of politicians and pundits and good-willed leaders of our country place their focus on transitory and flimsy and fading hopes. Ask any politician their definition of hope, and what they believe Americans need, and you’ll get as varying answers and broad cliches as a child trying to solve an Algebra problem.
Hope is what we need, and yet hope is allusive and hard to nail down, and no one quite agrees when we see it. Are there any sure bets for hope? Can we say our future will be better than today because of the results of an election?
When I vote today, my hope is not in future leaders of this country, particular parties running the House, propositions passed to lower or raise taxes, or Making America Great Again. I build my hope on a living reality with backbone and grit and teeth and a secure and promised future.
In the Bible, the letter of 1st Peter was written to a people who lacked hope. They were a marginalized community persecuted for following the Risen Messiah. Each day was a fight for survival and their future was unclear. The dictatorship and oppressive regime, in which they lived in the first century, makes our situation in America look like a lazy Sunday and walk in the park.
So what do you tell a people in this situation? What do you tell people who lack hope? Everything will be okay, despite a possibility they may crucify you in the town square, or toss you to lions in the Coliseum. What words of encouragement do you give a marginalized people that have no power, influence, or voice in their community?
You tell them about hope. A hope not found in themselves or in government. A living hope. Hope rooted in history and secure in the present and future. Hope that makes dead people alive. A hope not bound by circumstances or economic markets or unemployment percentages.
Hope found in resurrection. A resurrection of the God-Man Jesus Christ in time and space and history for sinners like us. A resurrection that opened the gates of hope and triumphed over our greatest enemies: sin, death, hell, sorrow, suffering, and the world. A resurrection that happened in history and the promise of future resurrection for all who are loyal to Jesus.
This living hope can’t be taken away regardless of economic circumstance, who’s in office, color of your skin, or what side of the tracks you were born. The miraculous hope found in resurrection is secured in heaven.
On Voting Day, we need a hope outside ourselves. Vote and participate with our neighbors and community in your civil duty and right as a citizen of America. But don’t think for a second that the results of an election are the end or beginning of hope.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and his righteousness.
That anthem will guard my heart and mind as I work through the ballot today. I hope it will be true for you too…
“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” -1 Peter 1:3-5.