By Leeann R, Younger
Well, thank God it’s finally over. Eighteen months of campaign speeches and debates and political commercials have FINALLY come to a screeching halt. Last Tuesday you may have seen your candidate rise in victory. Or you may have seen your candidate go down in defeat. If you are a third-party supporter, you may have just found joy in seeing your candidate’s face on the television screen for their ten seconds of fame. Regardless of which perspective defines your election night experience, it’s clear that the result has evoked strong feelings from all sides.
In the aftermath of this election our social media news feeds reveal the depth of division in the American electorate. Protestors have taken to the streets to announce their frustration. Social media conversations reflect the diversity and volatility of public opinion. Incidents reflective of the vitriolic rhetoric of the campaign have increased. It’s a toxic soup of national anxiety and pain. And into this recipe of chaos someone you know will invariably try to turn down the heat on any difficult conversation with this:
“No matter who is in the White House, Jesus is still on the throne.”
It’s a true statement. I believe it. But this verbal mantra isn’t typically employed as the powerful declaration of Gospel truth that it is. The vision of Jesus on his throne in Revelation was offered to the early church as both a comfort in persecution and a call to perseverance. We cheapen the power of this vision when we make it an escape hatch, a mollifying distraction from the challenges of everyday life. It becomes a Jesus Juke, a slight of hand involving the King of kings. Well-meaning but equally anxious believers tempt us to look away from the current chaos and fix our gaze on the heavenlies instead of those hurting around us. Jesus is indeed on the throne but this truth isn’t our invitation to sidestep the challenges we face.
We cheapen Jesus and his throne too when we Jesus Juke our way around the pain of others. “Have faith! He’s on the throne!” we say, avoiding eye contact and swinging our mantra like a baseball bat at those in turmoil and need. Instead of empathy and instead of genuine help, we offer platitudes and often disdain. But Jesus is on the throne and engagement with each other in such a divisive time is both our invitation and our obligation.
Our current cultural divide needs a courageous church infused with the vision and power of an enthroned Jesus, the one for whom and by whom all things have been made. When we draw our identity from the one on the throne, we can hold space for differing perspectives; we can hear each other’s pain; we can find healing in the community that is in communion with the King.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Rev 21:5). Jesus is on the throne. He’s hard at work bringing renewal to our broken systems and broken hearts. May the church find the strength to live boldly into this truth, for the healing of our country and the sake of the Gospel.
Leeann R. Younger and her husband, Wayne, are the founding co-pastors of Cityview Covenant Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She loves her children, her books, and her Steelers. You can follow her at https://medium.com/@leeannshawyounger