Your Vote Matters!
Next Tuesday, November 6th, is Election Day. Across the nation citizens will cast ballots electing candidates for office from local, county, state, the US Senate and House of Representatives. Ballot proposals will be voted upon as well.
As your pastor and as a life-long United Methodist, I want to share some thoughts for you to consider as you prepare to cast your ballot. My understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ has changed and developed over the years. From the first memories I have of attending Mt. Pleasant United Methodist I have been steeped in the theology of John Wesley.
Wesley believed that the Christian faith should be based solidly on the Scriptures, the tradition of the Church, thoughtful reflection (Wesley called this Reason) and Experience. He believed that being a follower of God through Christ should be demonstrated in acts of Christian service, and at times, take clear positions on the issues of his day. Wesley opposed English Child Labor Laws and slavery as examples. He taught “the people called Methodists” to do the same.
As the election approaches, Wesley would urge you, and I urge you to vote and to prepare well as followers of Christ. Become familiar with the candidates, what they say they will do if elected, and what they have done in their public lives. Learn about what they have done about the issues they raise. Be as certain as you can that the sources you use are reliable and that information provided can be verified. Watch out for “talking points” and “fake news.” Research the agendas of the major political parties. Become familiar with the ballot proposals in the very same ways.
Then, as a Christian and Citizen of the Kingdom of God and using your best understanding of the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and the witness of the Scriptures make your decisions. Constantly ask for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The decisions made on Tuesday, November 6th will impact our local, state, national communities. They also will affect the world community.
I have voted in every general election. I believe in participatory democracy and that voting is a citizen’s duty. In doing so I have tried to vote for what I believe Jesus Christ and the Scriptures teach: to seek justice and mercy, to uphold the dignity of every person, regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, or gender orientation – equal justice under the law for everyone. I believe Jesus called for an end to violence and working for peace, and giving particular attention to really hearing and responding to the cries of the poor, the weak, children, and the outcast and to strive for public policy that measurably helps. I have not always been successful. I am proud of some of the votes I have cast and regret others, but I have tried.
This, sisters and brothers, is part of my thought on voting in a democracy.
What do you think? How has God molded and shaped your faith – first your understanding of Scripture, then of our Christian traditions, your Reason and Experience? How has God led you? I ask you to give serious thought and prayer to these questions. Then, pray some more. Become informed. Think and pray some more.
Then, on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6th, VOTE, seeking first the Kingdom of God. Elections matter.
Prayerfully and respectfully, your Pastor,