“Joy cometh in the morning.” Some will remember that from an episode of West Wing. At Wesley, we study it as Psalm 30:5. I think of it this morning as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in as President and Vice President here in Washington DC. As Christians, our hope is always in the future. Our better days are not behind us: not in Egypt or old Jerusalem; Corinth or Rome; Europe in the 16th century or America in the 1950s. We look forward with hope.
Wesley was brought to Washington to make use of this city to prepare Christian leaders with a grounding in the public square and the global community. When we confess, “Jesus is Lord,” we are also saying, “and Caesar is not.” But in this democracy, we are also Caesar. That’s what “government of the people, by the people and for the people” is about. American Christians hold dual citizenship, in both the United States and the Kingdom of God. So, how should this affect our politics? Let’s take it straight from Jesus’ mouth. We are commanded to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick and welcome the stranger. Jesus says that is central to the Good News and what it takes to get into heaven. We consider these truths to be self-evident. Christianity is spirituality with an attitude and an agenda. If we read about the Kingdom of God, sing about it and pray for its coming on earth as it is in heaven every Sunday, and then we do nothing to make that happen, we are among those whom Jesus condemned as “hypocrites.” Results matter. This is not a choice between capitalism and socialism, conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. Wesley’s color is purple; we are non-partisan but not disinterested. We will hold the Biden/Harris administration and the Congress both close and accountable as a special interest group on behalf of the abundant life in the Kingdom of God, however that is achieved.
Lest we be self-righteous, we must also look to our own house. Ken Burns says America is suffering from three viruses: “COVID-19, white supremacy and misinformation.” To this I would add, white Christian nationalism. Combatting this is our special responsibility. Like all viruses, they cannot be eliminated. They lurk in the human condition and require conscious vigilant resistance and the natural immunity that comes from the pursuit of spiritual health. We have our own souls to search in order to foster in our nation what Lincoln referred to in his second inaugural address as, “the better angels of our nature.” Hear, O, Lord, and have mercy upon us: Lord, be thou our helper. (Psalm 30:10).