Two Novembers ago, on a Tuesday night, I stood in line for nearly an hour waiting to vote. For forty-five minutes I waited along with many others who considered it their civic duty to turn out and vote their conscience. As I stood there in line, I could not help but think about how incredible people are. Have you ever stopped to think about it: how kind, how brave, how bold people can be? How adventurous and free spirited and determined to do the right thing human beings can be? That is what captured my attention on that cold, November night, not how different we are, but how similar. It amazed me that so many people cared so much about the state of our nation that they would turn out in huge numbers to exercise their right to choose our nation’s leaders.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
A more perfect union, those are the words that captured my attention when I read the preamble to our constitution. The framers of the constitution were not starry-eyed dreamers. They knew what the real world is like. They were political too. They had their own convictions, hopes and desires for our country and they certainly knew that politics would bring out the best in people as well as the worst.
1 How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!
A few weeks ago, I stood at attention as the Star-Spangled Banner was played over the loudspeaker at our school. While it played, I found myself drawn to the contrast between the red and the white stripes, the deep divide between the colors. It reminded me of the divide that exists politically in our nation. But my eyes were also drawn to the field of blue, the stars set in a sea of tranquility and harmony. It reminded me that if we choose to, that is where we could spend more of our time politically and ideologically - in the field of blue.
Living in the field of blue means living out our individualism without infringing on or diminishing our fellow citizens’ rights to do the same. It does not mean that we are of one mind but, rather, of one heart and spirit. Fundamentally, as citizens of this country, we may disagree with one another, but in our striving to make this union more perfect, we fight for what we believe in a way that is honoring to God and to one another.
Cynicism, it seems to me, is at an all-time high in our country. We bicker. We quarrel. We fan the flames of our anger towards one another. All the while, we neglect to see the beauty that lies in each of us, the beauty that our Creator gave us. It is too easy to forget just what Masterpieces we are. We were formed by God's own hands and we matter to Him. We were created in His image.
To me that means that we have certain holy capabilities about us. We have the power to dream, and achieve, and create and restore. If you set cynicism aside and search for the good in people that goodness will show up if given enough time, patience, and love. We can choose to see the best in one another - even in those we do not understand. We can choose to see them through the eyes of their Maker and love them the way he loves. Living in the field of blue means agreeing to disagree, but to do so with integrity and uprightness, to disagree in love.
1 Corinthians 12:12
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
We all play an important role in this world. We were created as individuals with different ideals and purposes, but we all have this in common: we need one another. We depend on one another. After his chapter on unity in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul goes on to describe the perfect way to achieve unity: love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Keep your political ideals and beliefs. That is what makes for great and robust conversations and debates but temper your beliefs with love. That is what we are called to do. Love is the better way, the way to a more perfect union.