Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Personal Perspective At An Election Day Worship Service

Along with several members of other Harrisonburg congregations, I was invited to offer "200 words" at a community election day worship service last evening on our church's perspective on voting. There is, of course, no clear consensus on this issue among Virginia Conference Mennonites, but for what its worth, here is the text of my thoughts:

In 1742 my ancestor Christian Yoder, Jr., at age 17, emigrated from Switzerland to eastern Pennsylvania with his father, likely to avoid military service in the Swiss army. Thirty four years later, in 1776, he moved his own family, including their sons of draft age, to Somerset County near the Ohio border as the Continental army began conscripting young men to engage in a war of rebellion against the British king who had offered them asylum in the new world. 

Thus it shouldn't be surprising that many in my faith community haven’t fully felt at home whether in western Europe, eastern Pennsylvania or elsewhere, often experiencing the US less as their promised land and more as their temporary sojourn in Babylon. So as followers of Jesus and resident aliens, the issue of whether to vote, as in choosing the commander in chief of the armed forces, has often divided us. 

Yet scriptures admonish us to seek the shalom of whatever Babylon in which we find ourselves, grateful that this one is better than many. So some among us, as pilgrims and sojourners, warily cast their votes in the approximate direction of justice, meanwhile praying that all in positions of power around the world would work together to help make it a little better place.


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