From the Preacherman….

It has been called the most rancorous and divisive election in the history of

American politics. One candidate was described by his opponents as the persona

of radical atheism, one sworn to overthrowing all order, both divine and human.

The other candidate was cast by opponents as a haughty monarchist whose

despotic presidency had betrayed the cause of American liberty. Both candidates

believed themselves to be victims of the most base, vulgar, sordid, palpable lies.

They were bitterly at odds over the scope and size of the federal government at

home and the preservation of American honor abroad. “Neither reason nor

justice can be expected from either side,” said one foreign observer. The British

Prime Minister wrote, “The Country offers the spectacle of a perpetual struggle

between two parties.” (from American Sanctuary by A. Roger Ekirch)

The year? No, not 2020, or 2016, or 2000, or 1980, or 1960. The year of that

election was 1800. Its two bitterly warring candidates were Thomas Jefferson

and John Adams. Yes, 220 years ago two of our Founding Fathers, people

essential and crucial to our nation and its history, provided us with our first truly

modern presidential election. What is the old saying from Mark Twain? History

never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.

I have a serious question for you. What if the good, old days were just, you

know, days, with deep and serious problems, as well as wondrous gifts and

revelations? All of my life I have heard people talk about how great things were

back in their day, when they were younger, twenty or thirty years ago. But if we

went back to that day, there would be people saying the same thing about a

previous era. What if every generation of people has its moments, great and

awful, and the key is living in that moment fully, faithfully, for all we are worth?

We don’t get to choose the time in which we live. We get to choose how we will

live in that time.

I like to remind people that if we were to keep going back 20, 30 or even

50 years, eventually we would reach the time of Jesus. We could watch him call

his disciples and live with their wonderful unity, magnanimity and devotion.

Well, not really. He called Matthew, a tax collector, whose day job was working

for Rome. He called Simon, a Zealot, who was part of a group organized for the

armed overthrow of the Roman occupation of Israel. I bet that made for some

pleasant dinner conversation between Simon and Matthew. How often did Jesus

have to break up that fight? And we think politics today is bad.

I say this because I believe every generation has its moment. This is ours.

How shall we live with one another? As a follower of the man who called those

odd disciples to follow him, I ask you how shall we live with one another? Can we

cooperate and argue and find places to stand together because the Prince of

Peace calls us there? Or will we just fight and kill each other until we are too tired

to go on and the nation crumbles?

This is our moment. How shall we live?