Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | October 29, 2012

Just another horse race

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish. Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD!  [Psalm 146]

           It’s just over a week away.


          Oh my.

          If you are at all like me, you are really looking forward to the end of this election cycle, when all the posturing will be over.  It’s not unlike the hype surrounding a big horse race here in Kentucky, but waaaay longer in duration.  

          Not everyone will be happy, of course, when this election race is over, but at least there will be an end to the ads, the campaigns, the constant noise.

          The Psalm in this week’s lectionary puts a good perspective on it. 

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help.

          In ancient times, of course, there were no elections.  Rulers came into power through succession or by force.  The people had no choice in who was in charge.  A particular guy might rule for a few days or months until he was overthrown by the next one, or he might rule for decades if he consolidated enough power. 

          The psalmist wisely encourages people not to get too worked up over all the goings on at the top.  They should remember that there are things more important, more lasting, than who is in charge of the government.

          Here’s the thing:  don’t tell those at the top, but they’re not really in charge.  Not in the bigger sense. 

          God’s in charge.  And the psalmist gives us a long list of the things God really cares about. 

          This week, we as a country are rightly caring more about a huge storm pummeling the east coast than we are about the campaigns.  Extensive threats to life and property are foremost.  I have family and friends in the path of the storm, and they are all in my mind and on my heart as I write this.

          It kind of puts the election in perspective, doesn’t it?  Whether your guy gets elected or doesn’t, there are more important things to care about.

          Like people.

          Next week, as the last horse crosses the finish line, we will look up and see all the people around us, and will be reminded to return our attention to them.

          The race will be over, but the work and joy of living will continue.

© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2012


  1. You will, like I will, be preaching on Ruth and Naomi’s love for each other and 2 days before an election that others say faces the most polarized electorate ever. I don’t buy the split being any greater than the New Deal, the Vietnam War, Goldwater or Johnson. Can you imagine people of 2 different national enemies (for generations) vowing their lifelong love for each other? — kinda’ like God loving us in spite of and because of. It’ll preach in Versailles and London.

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