But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia[a] and Seba in exchange for you. — Isaiah 43:1-3 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. — John 15:15-17 When Nathan was very little, we would read a book version of The Lion King on my computer. There is in that story a scene that became a favorite for us both. Simba, the cub born to be king, has run away from his calling. Rafakki shows him his father who says to him, “you have forgotten who you are, and so forgotten me. Remember who you are.”
Remembering is central to the Biblical message. Too often we forget our identity in Christ and allow ourselves to be named in so many other ways. We name ourselves by our roles — father, mother, pastor; we name ourselves by our hobbies — golfer, biker, reader; we name ourselves by our accomplishments; and most evident these days, we name ourselves by our opinions about politics. None of those defines us as people of faith; none of those is who we are at our deepest levels. A friend recently posted, “Christians do not follow an elephant or a donkey or an eagle. We follow a Lamb who calls us to sacrificially love our neighbor...even the neighbor who holds different political views.” May it be so. No matter the results of the coming election, “remember who you are.”
I Am Thine, O Lord I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice, and it told thy love to me; but I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to thee. Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord to the cross where thou has died. Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord to thy precious bleeding side.
Lord, listen to your children praying. Campaign season is noisy. Our ears are overwhelmed. Despite all the noise, the sound of uncertainty reverberates throughout our nation. We struggle to perceive the movement of the Spirit over the clamor. Send us love that frees us from hatred and bitterness toward one another. Send us power that resonates justice and protects human dignity. Send us grace that we would sing songs of hope and unity. Send us love, send us power, send us grace. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. — Adapted from Prayer by Sarah Case Pastor Tom