November 1, 2012 by Ben Irwin
The following is a guest post from Brian Zahnd, pastor of Word of Life Church in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Word of Life is one of over 700 churches participating in Election Day Communion next week. (Brian’s post was republished from his blog with permission.)
That they may all be one…that the world may believe.
—Jesus (John 17:21)
I’m kind of depressed.
Or at least a little bit sad.
Politics is the pathogen of my mental malady.
Every election cycle it gets worse—
Like an unholy Civil War re-enactment.
Brother against brother.
The American presidential election is dividing the Body of Christ.
“I am of Obama!”
“I am of Romney!”
Is Christ divided?
Was Obama crucified for you?
Were you baptized in the name of Romney?
Yet the Body of Christ is divided. Not merely that one votes for the donkey and another votes for the elephant (this is to be expected), but that Christians are breaking fellowship over “donkey vs. elephant” allegiance. Vote for my candidate or I will not call you my brother! This makes me deeply sad. As it does the Holy Spirit.
I could say much about what it reveals concerning our faith in the seminal confession of Jesus is Lord that we take the “American Political Idol Contest” so seriously, but I will forgo. What I lament is the division it propagates in the body of Christ and how comfortable so many Christ-followers are with it.
I personally know deeply committed followers of Christ whose faith informs them in such a way that they will cast their ballot for Barack Obama. Yes, I know these people.
I personally know deeply committed followers of Christ whose faith informs them in such a way that they will cast their ballot for Mitt Romney. Yes, I know these people.
These are not stupid people. These are not compromising believers. They are intelligent, committed followers of Jesus who have a different opinion regarding Christ-informed presidential politics.
These differing opinions are represented in my own family. Nevertheless we are still family.
Would that the family of Christ had the same commitment to family values!
(In the interest of reckless full disclosure: I will go to the polls on November 6, 2012. But my presidential ballot will not be cast for either of the two major candidates. My Christian faith informs me in this decision. But I respect, yea love, my brothers and sisters who disagree with me.)
The ballot booth is important.
The Lord’s Table is more important.
At the ballot booth we divide.
At the Lord’s Table we unite.
Babylon seeks to divide us by race, nationality, politics, age, and gender.
The Communion table is where we re-member the dismembered body of Christ.
So that the world may believe!
Our unity is to be our primary witness to the world.
Our witness to the Lordship of Jesus is based in our unity—
A unity that transcends the divisions of political Babylon.
This is why the Apostle Paul was so aggrieved at the Corinthian practice of carrying class division to the Lord’s Table.
Consider: In the earliest days of the Church, when the Eucharistic practice was a full meal, the rich were feasting (even getting drunk!), while the poor were going hungry. (see 1 Corinthians 11:17-34) Paul wasn’t as upset about drunkenness in church as he was about the practice of class-division in church. This should tell us something!
The Communion Table is where the dismembered body of Christ is to be re-remembered.
Imagine a sign on the Lord’s Table saying…
Now imagine a sign on the Lord’s Table saying…
Have we reached that point?
Have we reached the point in the American church where we are willing to deny someone as our brother or sister in Christ based upon political differences? I fear we have.
This is why I am sad, almost depressed.
We are dismembering the body of Christ.
I hear Christ saying—
On the brighter side I am inspired by the Election Day Communion project and the more than six hundred churches that are participating.
(At Word of Life we will hold a special Communion service to re-member the body Christ at Noon on Wednesday November 7. This service will be in our Upper Room.)
The Peace of Our Lord.
(The artwork is Unity by Monica Stewart.)