“We have a God-given commission, but it is not a commission to be self-righteous know-it-alls- quite the contrary. Our work in God’s world begins with the acknowledgment that we are not God, and that our most bitter rivals are made in God’s image. “ Senator John C. Danforth
John Danforth was a United States Senator representing Missouri for nearly 20 years before retiring. He later served as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Senator Danforth is also an Episcopal priest. He has written for numerous publications and has authored three books including, Faith and Politics: How the “Moral Values” Debate Divides America and How to Move Forward Together, and The Relevance of Religion: How Faithful People Can Change Politics.
I admire his writing, his perspectives and his expectation that Christians take seriously their faith as participants in civil society.
I am mindful of Senator Danforth as I write this on the eve of Election Day. Clearly, at this point, I do not know the outcome of any race or the future of any one candidate or issue. However, I do believe that the Danforth is correct that we must faithfully and lovingly recognize the image of God in each and every person. That image is powerful enough to radiate beyond the temporal identities of political affiliation, in fact, that image is the only one that truly matters. All of us choose how we reveal God’s image in our own lives.
I pray that we are doing that right now; that when people see you or see me, they encounter love, patience, compassion and reason. We do not need to agree in order to be kind and loving. We do not need to agree in order to practice patience and compassion. We do not need to agree in order to recognize the face of Christ in each person we encounter.
For most of us, the number of ballots and the number of votes will quickly fade away in our memories. Yet, how we treat and speak to one another will be remembered for much longer. Jesus speaks to this often, and I have used this before because it is just this simple: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This work, this love is our God-given commission. Go into the world to love and serve the Lord. Amen