5 Meditations for Election Week

This election has all the attraction of a highway car crash. It’s gruesome to behold, but we can’t seem to turn away. Much of America is disillusioned about the candidates, yet record numbers watched the presidential debates. And like a car crash, there is the danger of rubbernecking. We can get so sucked into this election’s tragedy that we fall into a pessimism—or even despair.

To counteract this rubbernecking, we need to keep our eyes on the road. For Christians, this means keeping our eyes ever toward the Lord, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus Christ offers the antidote to this election’s toxins.

Here are five verses to help keep our eyes on Jesus amid this election season.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)

This is a year for political outsiders. Many clamor for someone untainted by corruption. What could be more foreign to politics than someone gentle and lowly in heart? In his friendship, we will find true rest for our weary souls.

For the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:44)

Some question whether any candidate truly wants to help the country. We want someone that’s not just on a ego-trip. Christ’s path to glory was anything but a self-aggrandizement. He came to serve. He came to empty himself. He accepted not a crown of gold, but of thorns. Yet by this path, he offered to humanity the greatest good: forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation.

If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:31-32)

Truth and freedom: wouldn’t those be nice? Candidates seem to be keeping fact-checkers in business. By contrast, Jesus speaks the truth for he is the Truth. Jesus gives the freedom that the world can’t offer, the true freedom of the heart, the freedom to flourish in love.

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

We want a strong leader, one who can handle the burdens of the office. But a leader—even a good one—can only do so much. When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need fear no evil. The Good Shepherd is with us. His rod and staff, our comfort and guide.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

This election is one big mess. Headline news drag the past into the light. On the Cross, Jesus foreknew and forgave all of our sins, even all this mess. It’s each person’s choice to accept or reject this forgiveness. For our own messes, let our confidence be in our Crucified Lord. He is mighty to save.

These meditations barely skim the riches of these verses, and touch upon only a few details of their portrait of Christ. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus himself. May he keep us from getting sucked into this election’s muck or from failing our civic duty through fear or despair. May Christ the King defend and purify our nation, and may we be his faithful disciples.

Image: Snehal Shah, The Road

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Br. Joseph Martin Hagan graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009. The following year, he spent trekking around Ireland, serving with N.E.T. Ministries. Then, he returned to Notre Dame's Echo program and completed an M.A. in theology, while serving in the Diocese of Wilmington, DE. Br. Joseph entered the Order of Preachers in 2012. On DominicanFriars.org