I love the Book of Isaiah. Maybe because Jesus loved it and quoted it more than any other book. His life mission was Isaiah 61.
In 1973, I was seeking God’s mission and vision for my life when the wind blew my Bible open to Isaiah 61 on a mountain nearly 10,000 feet high, and the mission for our church was born.
I love the start of the book when the old prophet is telling the people of Judah that they have a choice ahead of them and that it is a pivotal time in history. The first chapters are full of warning for the consequences of turning away from the Lord. But there is hope also, when in Isaiah 1:18-20 God says…Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
I am not a pastor in order to be a politician. I had thought seriously about a political career and was called to be a pastor. As I have said from the beginning, I want people to come to church who disagree with me and I with them. Church is not a holy huddle. It is preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God that will change our lives and the world. While I am very politically active, I have always preached Christ first and last and I will do so till the day I die. Now, I do ask, even plead, that everyone vote. I pray for 100% participation. In Romans 12 it tells us “to be subject to those put in governmental authority over us.” When faith grows deep and people’s lives are changed that is how revolution happens. Government changes because “government is only a reflection of the people” as Thomas Jefferson said. I want to tell you that our faith in America is three thousand miles wide and one inch deep. We need deeper roots and spirit-filled faith.
That is why Saturday night is becoming our discipleship night. We have chosen that night because our people are busy and weeknight discipleship does not catch the people we need to grow deeper in their faith. Some radicals may want to go Saturday and Sunday. Others will choose between the two, and that is alright.
Nothing in this election has surprised me. Our Christian faith is so shallow today. But that does not relieve us of the right, privilege and responsibility to vote. There will be a day, maybe in our life time, when we won’t get to vote and we will realize the gravity of this age that we are living in. Also, don’t let all the hate speech take you away from being a Christ-follower. You need to be able to speak kindly and forthrightly with those with whom you disagree. As there is so much division in our society it is Christians who will hold our communities and nation together with civility. That is why I ask, beg and preach that you and I should pray for the candidate and their followers, that we are not voting for. It is the only Christian thing to do in that we are supposed to love our enemies.
I have written a novel on American patriotism called Ulysses Dream and asked the publisher to rush it to be published during the election. I wrote it in a year and it took six months to bring it to market. Yes, it deals with human trafficking – something that is an abomination to God. Yes, it deals with immigration, something that is a hot political issue for both parties. President Obama deported more immigrants than at any other time in history and as you know, nominee Trump wants to put up a wall which will prevent illegal immigrants from entering our nation. That would at least stop the coyotes (smugglers) and they would not be able to abuse people. I think both sides can agree that good-hearted immigrants need to be treated with the same humanity and dignity that our forefathers were treated with when they came to this country. Yes, in my book I argue for patriotism for our nation and for what it might become. It is a great and honored responsibility.
On Thursday, October 20th, from 7 to 8 pm, there will be a launch for my novel Ulysses Dream at the Spirit Falls Sanctuary. There will be an original composition by Rhonda Jones, including choir, violin and viola, and soloists. There will be comments from Vietnam war veterans, Seattle Police detective (Retired), and others about the book, maybe even a Native American Chief. I will give a brief synopsis of the book, and a Spanish actress will read a page from the book. The book will be for sale and the proceeds will go to retiring the last of Washington Cathedral’s long-term debt.
Let’s all be in prayer about this election and make sure that you register and vote.
Your friend for the rest of my life,
Pastor Tim White