When someone mentions the church and politics in the same sentence, the picture most people flash on is a pastor standing in the pulpit, waving a red or blue flag, and telling you why it would make Jesus happy if you voted for a particular candidate or a specific proposition. It is an off-putting image for many, and accusations of preachers exceeding their authority or manipulating congregations often follow. To avoid this, then, churches swing all the way in the other direction, to where we do not want to talk about politics at all in the church. Keep church and state separate, as they ought to be. There is, however, a middle ground between littering the church lawn with campaign signs and making politics a taboo subject.

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon the throne, high and lifted up…”

Isaiah 6:1

The signs are all around us. We just don’t want them to be real, or at least we don’t want them to mean what they seem intent on conveying. After all, it’s that special time of year when everything appears to carry more weight. So, we take comfortable stances and head down familiar roads. Once again we are told that this election is the most important election of our lifetime, there is more at stake, more to gain if my side wins and more to lose if those idiots try and steal the election. 

Songs that make me swell with pride, as my chest booms with every celebratory explosion in the sky. Passionate speeches and heart wrenching memories pour out of every red-blooded American. Love and brotherhood with our fellow citizen, that was by random chance born on this side of the globe. Admiration and appreciation for the soil and air we breathe on this particular continent. Defended, guarded, even pressed out beyond our borders, we join hands and voices to let our freedom ring around the world.

I was able to go to church last Sunday. I do not get to do that very often. Not because of the Covid-19 terror which plagues our land or a lack of desire to attend, rather as a pastor I am usually presiding in the Divine Service, not participating as a worshipper. My “going to church” is marked as my vocation and there are only a handful of times a year where I just go to church and sit in the pew as a layperson.

We have all seen them. Perhaps you are one of them, one of those peculiar individuals we see driving down the road in their own car all by themselves wearing a facemask to combat the Coronavirus. Of course, we know the benefits of wearing a face mask in public. In some places it is not only suggested but required, not only for employees of essential businesses but those who choose to use those businesses as well. But alone in the car seems to be a bizarre and unreflective take on things.