There are two things on my mind today. First, it is that time of the church year when the readings appointed for our annual journey turn to endings. The Book of Revelation announces: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8) God is the beginning (the alpha point) and the end (the omega point). With the end of the church year just ahead, the Festival of Christ the King (November 20) will declare the finality of God’s Word revealed in Christ. All of history will be bent, nudged, cajoled, forgiven, and redeemed into the reign of God.
The second thing on my mind this morning is the elections held yesterday. (Take a deep breath and relax. I am about to speak of political things, but not partisan things). There is both joy and despair in the country today as people see that their candidates won or lost, their parties gained or lost ground. There is lots of speculation about how this will all impact the next two years of our lives.
I am deeply concerned about the direction and course of our nation. You probably are too. Things are unsettled, people are divided. Folks are hitting each other with hammers and storming the very seat of government to express political fears. We know that is not how things are supposed to be. It is easy to let that wash over us and wash away the hope we bear, replacing it with a despair for the living of each day.
Here is the thing: This election, these parties, this nation (now I may provoke some) are not the alpha or omega points of history. All that took place yesterday and shall take place in the politics and power structures of this or any nation are expressions of the “principalities and powers.” Both houses of congress, both political parties, and red and blue states both are ultimately subject to the rule of Christ. Paul says it this way:
(Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:15-16)
At the omega point of history all things will be judged, all will be revealed as having been of the reign of God or something else. Our party, our political ideals, our arguments will not matter. That does not mean, however, that all is up for grabs. Jesus himself has revealed what the omega point of history will reveal. We already know the answer to the test questions.
Love will conquer evil. Grace will erase divisions. There will no longer be “Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28) There will no longer be racism, persecution of people due to their differences, or living in fear of what we are. As Jesus preached in last week’s gospel lesson:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. (Luke 6:20-23)
As the prophets declared, the widow, the orphan, and the resident alien living among you (in other words all who struggle at the margins of life) will be blessed. These are the marks of omega that erupt into our world every day. They are also the words that judge us and call us to the path to omega.
Since we know the outcome, what the omega point looks like in Christ, we are called to live, love, serve – and vote – as if the end is already here.
Tim Olson – Lead Pastor