One of the most memorable church services I ever attended was a communion service preceded by a message on a controversial war. A young pastor began by honoring those members of the congregation who had family members or friends serving in our country’s military.
Then he paid an equal tribute to those within the church family who were opposed to the same war.
After taking enough time to show respect and concern for those on both sides of the issue, he said something like, “Let’s look at what is happening here. We’ve come together today from all walks of life and from many different neighborhoods. Some us support the war. Some of us are against it. Some of us are Republicans, some are Democrats. Some are Independents or Libertarians. We are Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, and Asian. Some of us are wealthy, some are poor. So what brings us together?”
Then we shared communion together remembering the One who died for us. Our sense of unity was as real and as meaningful as the bread and cup we shared.
Seems to me that in the middle of a hotly contested election, with not only fellow citizens but also “family” on both sides of the political aisle, it’s a good time to remember what it was that enabled the Apostle Paul to encourage his brothers and sisters in Christ to honor a pagan head of state who persecuted Christians, required worship of himself, and oversaw a Roman empire marked by excess taxes, economic slavery, sexual promiscuity, blood sport and the abortion of unwanted children.
In spite of all that, Paul wrote at length in the 13th chapter of his letter to the Romans about how to live in honor and love, paying taxes, respecting the God-given role of government and not forgetting that real unity (and what is most important) is found not in Caesar but in Christ.