Like so many of you, I just made my way down the aisle of my local church. I was headed toward the Table. It was yesterday, the Sunday before Election Day, and we were about to receive the Eucharist.
I had spent the last hour in a room inhabited by diverse human beings. I figured that most had professed their faith in Jesus yet each thought very differently on the role of the presidency, what qualifies one for the job, and who would be the better option for our country. I figure that each person in the room had a different take on citizenship, allegiance, and national security. It was likely that I was sitting between a Republican and a Democrat, with an Independent in front of me, a Libertarian behind me, and a Green Partier just three rows over.
Through the songs, prayers, silence, and meditation, I reflected on these last two years. I wondered how well I had articulated my hopes and frustrations over our broken systems and about those charged to lead them. I considered the conversations I had been in where I had listened well…and those where I hadn’t. I audited my posture toward those who thought differently than me.
I had much to lament. The Eucharist was coming and I needed to repent.
The Eucharist was coming….
There it was. It had been sitting in front of us every Sunday for these past two divisive, painful years, reminding us of whose we are, who we are, and what we get to be a part of in the world.
The Eucharist, after all, is our moment of remembrance. This sacred table is where we remember that our faith is neither informed nor defined by stars and stripes but by a cross. It is where we remember that our allegiance is not to the president of a nation state but to a slaughtered Lamb who got back up.
At the Table, we remember that America is not, nor never has been, the embodiment of the Jesus Way. It’s there that we remember that America will look more like Jesus only when we stop pursuing, accumulating, and protecting power and start laying it down so that those who have none flourish.
The Eucharist, that mysterious and magnificent meal, is our reminder of whose we are. We aren’t Republican or Democratic or Independent or Libertarian or Green or _________ Americans. We are the Reconciled Beloved. We are God’s cherished kids and we are each others’. We belong to God and we belong to one another.
The Eucharist, that bread and that wine, is our model of who we’re becoming. In the Way of Jesus, we aren’t becoming wealthier, more powerful, more successful, more secure humans with a platform that points to us. We are agents of creative, costly love being found and formed by Jesus as we give our lives away. We are the cross-shaped people who spend our lives so that others are reconciled, redeemed, liberated, forgiven, and restored.
The Eucharist, that diverse, inclusive table, is our commissioning into a world already being made right. We haven’t been commissioned into a conversion crusade nor the churchifying of humanity. Rather, we’ve been invited into a divine partnership with an enemy-loving God who is actively making all things (individuals, relationships, broken systems, and creation) new. The elements of the Eucharist are our fuel for the journey and help us make real the peace that God waged on the cross. Bread and wine are staples of the Everyday Peacemakers’ diet.
And so, with the taste of bread and wine on our lips, we head into Election Tuesday. As the elements of the Eucharist course through our bodies, we remember that no president, no political party, no government, no country can ever accomplish what God already accomplished in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and is making real through the Eucharistic, cross-shaped, enemy-loving community that you and I are a part of.
Friends. After this election is over, we will still find ourselves in a world that’s in the process of restoration. It’s not going to happen because of Capitol Hill. Restoration is ours to do. Are you ready to get to work?