There are few things as uniquely insufferable as an election year. There is no escaping the media, social media, or workplace chatter – as politics becomes ubiquitous. Those who are marginally political, begin to feel obligated to participate. Those who are generally predisposed to politics, begin to feel the need to up their game a bit. And for those who view their entire life through the prism of politics, this is the high holy season. Because it’s that special day we observe every couple of years between Halloween and Thanksgiving – you know the one, where we all allow political rhetoric to play on our fears . . . and then we’re all so very thankful when it’s over.
Now, maybe it’s because I’m old enough to have been to this circus a few times – but the whole thing always feels like an old rerun of an ill-conceived TV drama that should’ve never aired in the first place. Tediously predictable as it invariably leaves you with the distinct impression that you’ve likely lost a few brain cells in the experience. It would all just be a sad little sock-puppet theater filled with cartoon-like characters, babbling nonsense and stomping around making demagogic gestures — if everyone didn’t have such a deadly serious expectation that somehow the whole future of the world were hanging in the balance of what we choose . . . so this time — we better get this right!
At the center of this great kerfuffle are the partisan voices entreating us with the impossible promises of how their agenda will unquestionably lead us into a brighter future, while decrying their opponent’s agenda as leading us into a shadowy dystopia. Leaving us to assume that the only question we have left to ask ourselves is whether or not we want hope or despair. This is how the calculated hope of modern man makes its appeal . . . amidst the vitriolic bravado of political rhetoric, igniting our passions right up to the threshold of violence.
I’m suspicious that we’re allowing ourselves to be too easily swept up by the half-truth machinations of political drama because we’d much rather have a calculated hope, than a hope that hides itself in mystery — as such a hope would most certainly be far too reckless and imprudent. In truth, what we really want, is to know what’s going to happen from beginning to end, so that we can plan our lives accordingly. Because we’re not really interested in having to read about the long arduous struggle of not knowing, found in the book of Job – we just want to read chapter one and then skip down to chapter forty two, and know that everything worked out.
But the hope we find in God defies every calculation of man – because it isn’t our story being told. . . it’s His. We are the breath of God, made in his image – this is our part in his story from beginning to end. Love entered time and space and took on flesh, and even though we chose to crucify it, Jesus trampled down death by death, so that we might have life everlasting. Yes, this is his story, that he invites you to embrace as your story, a story of which you can never control the outcome. It is a reckless hope, to be sure – but it sure beats pretending that the calculated promises of duplicitous politicians could ever lead us to anything but another iteration of Babylon.
. . . so ring them bells!