The next two weeks are important weeks for our nation – both political parties are holding their national conventions. There will be a lot of rhetoric. Some of it will be vitriolic, some of it will be aspirational – which is which will depend on your alliances and your perspective. I’m not here to tell you which party to support or which candidate to support; that’s not my role as your pastor. What I do want to remind all of us, though, is that we have a responsibility toward each other and toward every human being. That responsibility is modeled by Jesus when he says that the two greatest commandments are “Love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” It is modeled by Jesus when he says that you should pray for your enemy and forgive again and again.
When you get caught up in the campaign rhetoric in the days and weeks ahead (and all of us will!), I urge you to recall the words I ended last week’s sermon with: God expects something different from us. God expects us to extend the same grace and mercy to others that God has extended to us. Grace, mercy, righteousness, peace, even for those who make us angry, even for those who hurt us, even for those who threaten us.
And remember the Charge and Blessing with which I ended the worship service; these words are not mine, they are words from Scripture:
Go out into the world in peace;
hold on to what is good;
return no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted;
support the weak, and help the suffering;
honor all people;
love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.