This week, another round of elections has determined who will continue leadership in our city and beyond and whose new perspectives and experiences will come to the fore. Whether you’re pleased, frustrated or indifferent about the results, I do believe that part of discipleship is remaining civically engaged with the issues that our local communities face. I take issue with the argument that Jesus wasn’t a political figure, for politics were precisely what enabled the state (the king) to sanction and carry out his murder. The issue at hand then and now, I believe, is power. Who has the power? And when someone HAS the power, then who is it among us who does NOT have the power? You may have heard the phrase “power breeds corruption.” While this is certainly one way of viewing the political system of our governance, I worry where that leaves us as a society (and as a Christian community) when we throw up our hands and choose not to pay attention since “nothing matters anyway.” Psychologists have studied the dynamics of power and how it affects a person, specifically when they are elected to an office, which has led to a new framing of power. That is: “power reveals character.” As we enter this next chapter of governance and as we continue to address the systemic issues that perpetuate poverty, hunger and homelessness, may the power that is retained and the power that is granted reveal the character of our leaders, and may we continue to hold them accountable so as to use OUR power for the building up of all of God’s children, so that all may share in God’s abundant life.
Let us pray.
Living God, we pray for the city of Tacoma, for our elected officials, city council, school board, and all who serve with positions of power. May their work be guided by your Spirit, empowered to advocate for the powerless and open to the voice of your people. Guide us, too, that we may be discomforted by the privileges we fail to employ for the empowerment of others. Let the fires of your justice burn. In Christ, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, may it be so. Amen.
With love and blessing,