I’m sitting here at my desk while people from all walks of life are descending on Forest Park Christian Church to vote. I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite some time. This has been the most contentious political race in recent memory. The divisive rhetoric and the outright venom being spewed by both sides is nauseating. One of the main reasons I have been looking forward to this day is because the races will be over (for a little while). People can go about their lives without having to violently defend their position or their party’s position. This season has brought about troublesome conflict between friends, family members, and even strangers standing in line at the grocery store. I’m ready for it to be over with.
What I didn’t expect was the attitude of the people coming in to vote. With this buildup of hate, I was expecting to see tempers flare and grouchiness at its worst. However, every person that comes through our doors is smiling on this rainy day. They are exercising their privilege to vote. Their voices will be heard today. At the root of most conflicts is the lack of communication. People feel that they are not heard. Today is different. Everyone gets a chance to make his or her voice count. People standing in line might be voting on completely opposing sides, but the fact that they will both be heard today is encouraging. Maybe that is why I am seeing so many smiles on this drizzly day that is the pinnacle of our political season.
One of the reasons that Jesus was so popular among the marginalized was that he gave them a voice. To be heard is a powerful thing. If we are to be the church that continues Jesus’ mission, then taking time to listen to people is one of the most powerful things we can do as people of faith.