Last night, I watched bits and pieces of the Democratic National Convention. My interest was piqued by a comment made one of the avid Obama supporters from the audience. A reporter asked her, “Why do you support Obama?” Among a few other political concerns, she said, “But I really love Obama because he makes me excited to be an American, because he gives me hope.”
Now each morning, I get an email in my inbox containing daily Scripture reading from the PCUSA’s daily lectionary. This morning’s reading from Psalms is striking, given the current political landscape of our country.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
3Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.
5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever;
7who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
9The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!
It’s not as if the messages contained herein are something new to me or to any of you, but I began to realize that my hope for the future is not always where it should be. This passage is a shocking reminder that no matter which leader we elect, he will be as fragile and frail as we are, and ultimately, our hope cannot be in him.
And this is not just a spiritual hope wherein we find peace for our souls; rather, the passage is explicitly political and social! This is not about an eternal soul; it’s about our human existence, i.e., hunger for food, justice, and broekn families. Is it possible that we Christians, on the right and left, have misplaced hope by locating all of our passion for social justice in a political agenda?