By Conrad Navarro
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! What incredibly comforting titles of their future king to the people of Judah! What incredible words of hope and true future peace! What a contrast to their present King Ahaz and his reign of war, distress, uncertainty, doom and gloom!
As I write these devotional thoughts we as a nation are in the midst of the ugliest presidential campaign I have ever witnessed in my voting lifetime. By the time we read these thoughts during the second week of Advent, the Week of Peace, one of the two major party nominees (barring something unforeseen) is our president-elect. Whoever that person is, due to the attitudes of both candidates, this inauguration feels more like a coronation.
During this election season I have experienced the entire gamut of feelings, mostly not good. Within hours inside of a day I have gone from not voting, to voting, to not voting again. In the end I know I will vote because the privilege of casting a ballot is so sacred to me. I just wish I could feel better about my vote. No matter what I do I feel I’m voting for King Ahaz.
Here’s what I do know and keeps me going, and encouraged, and hopeful; that no matter who wins this election it is King Jesus who is ultimately in control. He is the one that will bring true everlasting justice, and righteousness, and peace. It is King Jesus whose birth we celebrate again this year who will accomplish this.
I feel encouraged because he is my Wonderful Counselor…he gets me; he accepts me as I am. He is my Mighty God…he will work it all out in my personal life and the world. He is my Everlasting Father…he protects me, teaches me, and makes my hurts feel better. He is my Prince of Peace…in the midst of my storms and doubts I have peace that surpasses all understanding.
Hey! Whoever won this election whether it was your candidate or not…look up anyway! Because unto us the Prince of Peace is born!
By Ellen Di Giosia
During the course of this election season, the airwaves have been filled with divisive rhetoric, accusations of illegal and immoral behavior, and a shocking coarsening of political discourse. At times, it has felt like America has completely abandoned civility. If you like to peruse Facebook for cute pictures of babies and puppies, you also have to dodge auto-playing videos of crude and hateful speech. And having a fruitful discussion in the comments section? Well, we all know how that goes.
Early voting is underway, and on Tuesday, November 8, the election will finally come to a conclusion. Some of my Woodland friends will vote for Republicans, some for Democrats. Some may vote for Libertarian, Independent, or Green Party candidates. We disagree on many things – the role of government, tax policy, foreign affairs. But Woodland Baptist Church is full of good people, people I admire and love and trust. There is no reason to let political differences poison our fellowship. And the most fitting way for us to demonstrate our unity is to gather around the table that matters most, the communion table.
Woodland is joining a movement of 300 churches around the nation in observing Election Day Communion. We do not come to the table of Jesus because we cease to be Democrats or Republicans there; we come to the table of Jesus because he is not Democrat or Republican. Our allegiance is first and foremost to the Kingdom of God, as revealed in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Join us after the polls close on November 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Invite others to come and participate, too. If America feels fractured, let the Church be the place of wholeness and peace.
By Ellen Di Giosia
“As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” Psalm 17:15
The other day I turned the car radio to the news – can you guess what was on? Election coverage. Election coverage. For an election that is still months away. I practically knocked the knob off the console turning it off. “What was that?” asked my daughter.
“Grossness,” I said. “It’s GROSS.” The national conversation is so fraught with anger and violent words that listening to traffic is preferable. In fact, our discourse has reached such an apex of GROSS that people celebrate the death of actual, living human beings with whom they disagreed.
I would love to say that I am above this, but here’s the truth: I am prone to schadenfreude. You know that word, right? It’s a German word that means the pleasure of watching someone else’s misfortune. Or in the New Ellen Middle School DictionaryTM, “Ha ha ha! The girl who made fun of my bangs last week just got a really unfortunate perm.” I’m not proud of it, I promise; I just can’t help but feel a secret thrill when someone I don’t like gets what’s coming to her.
The writer of Psalm 17 is honest, and the suffering of his enemy – and his enemy’s children – is an appealing topic. After all, he’s the innocent one! He didn’t do anything to deserve the treatment he received. But he moves from “Show your love by saving me,” to “Make that guy’s grandkids eat rocks.” In our context, it’s the difference between “Please let me get a tax refund!” and “I hope the IRS man bites the dust.”
But we’re all headed in the same direction. In the end, the difference between the death of my enemy and my own death is just time. Not one of us will escape, and in the meantime, is our humanity worth compromising for the tiny joy of feeling better than someone else? When we wake up, it is God’s face that we hope to see. Isn’t that enough?