What comes next?

As seasons change, we remember what’s eternal

Oct 10, 2016 by

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Cooling temperatures and autumnal scenes signal the home stretch of election season for Americans. By now, most are weary of the fear, tribalism and vitriol associated with the presidential campaign.

The temptations we face this season are rooted in a compulsion to assign greater import to Election Day than it deserves. The privilege of having a choice in one’s earthly leaders is significant, but is it worthy of our obsession for months on end?

One way to overcome the weariness is to ask ourselves, “What comes next?” A focus on the church calendar instead of the world’s would help us reorient our view of the changing seasons.

This year, All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1) falls exactly one week before Election Day. All Saints’ Day is set aside to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout history who have died. Just as there is a quiet glory in the brilliant colors of the dying autumn leaves, there is a glory in the memory of those who have lived and died for the kingdom of God (Psalm 116:15).

No matter what changes on earth, we share fellowship with the “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1) in an everlasting kingdom we are to inherit. It is this kingdom and none other that deserves our hope and our zeal.

The election will take place Nov. 8, but our faith calendar comes to a close with Christ the King Sunday (Nov. 20), which celebrates “the all-embracing authority of Christ as King and Lord of the cosmos,” according to churchyear.net.

A recurring election-season social media post says, “No matter who is president, Jesus is King.” Let us encourage each other with this declaration, no matter how chilly the air becomes (Dan. 2:21).

One week later (Nov. 27) begins the long, cold darkness of Advent, when we seek solidarity with the oppressed, longing for deliverance from winter’s occupation. And at the peak of the darkness, we will have the audacity to celebrate the beginning of our deliverance in the birth of Jesus, God’s incarnate Word.

The changing seasons remind us that regardless of how gloomy things get, death won’t have the last word (1 Cor. 15:26). The nations may rage and the peoples plot in vain (Psalm 2:1). But followers of Jesus will use this season to retell the good news of our redemption.

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