It’s Halloween and no one needs a mask this year because, with the most divisive, disruptive election in memory only a week away, everything is already pretty scary.
When a newspaper, after endorsing candidates from a single political party for 125 years decides this year to endorse the other party’s candidate, and the publisher receives taunts and death threats in the mail … that’s pretty scary.
When the candidates stage three debates and the best they can do is see who can deliver the most condemning insult to the other … that’s pretty scary.
When most people seem to be voting against someone rather than for someone … that’s pretty scary.
When no matter who gets elected, half of the country is going to be either mad or scared … that’s pretty scary.
When political candidates for any office can’t speak a thought or an idea without someone shouting them down … that’s pretty scary.
When there’s no place where people of different persuasions can meet and discuss their ideas openly and with civility towards each other … that’s pretty scary.
So I suggest don’t wear a mask this year. Be warm and open, honest but kind, welcoming and supportive, loving and affirming. Affirm people because they are human and loved by God, not because they are on your side. Vow to pray for and support whoever gets into office.
Remember we are carriers of the gospel of welcome, and if the gospel welcomes anyone and everyone, so must we. And remember, also, we are grace turned outward to everyone we know and meet. As God has liberally shed His grace on us, so we are to give it freely to others.
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:11-17
[Note: this was written to people under the rule of Nero, one of the most depraved emperors to ever rule an empire.]