People have different definitions of God’s will

Published 9:15 am Friday, November 2, 2012

Across the Pastor’s Desk

By the Rev. Don Rose, United and Mansfield Lutheran Churches

What is it that God desires of God’s people? In these last days before the elections there will be a lot of words shared about God’s desire and God’s will and much of it may not have anything to do with God at all.

The prophets of the Hebrew Bible tell us that God desires God’s people to do justice, to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien in the land, and to walk humbly with God. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and to love one’s enemies, and to know that the care that is provided or not provided for the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the imprisoned and the ill is care that is either provided or not provided for him.

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For many it is much easier to answer the opening question by telling others that God does not want them to smoke or drink or dance or play cards. Certainly those were the responses of many in generations past. Much easier to focus on such items than to talk about the care that God calls God’s people to provide for those whom the world has left behind.

Jesus talks more about money and the economy than any other topic, certainly much more than issues of sexuality. Yet the Church seems to be more comfortable setting its sights on sexual minorities than upon Wall Street and the institutionalized means by which those who have little receive less and less while those with much simply add to their wealth. The church has long understood apparently the need to be careful around the hand that feeds rather than to be firmly rooted in the good news of God’s love and grace for all people, a love and grace that translates concretely into life in this world.

It must be recognized that even at the best of times, this is a world that is mired in sin. Human desire and effort in and of themselves will not change that. Only God has the power to bring about a new day when sin and death will be no more. As God’s people wait for that day, it is important to not make things worse in God’s name. It may very well be that a dose of humility is in order in these last days before the elections and certainly in the days and weeks and months to follow, no matter who wins.