Good Friday morning ...

Elections. There's a big one coming up November 6th. It's called the mid-term elections. For months now we have been inundated with radio and TV advertisements, newspaper inserts, mailers and yard signs leading up to the primary next Tuesday. Most of us are tired already and the big push has not yet begun.

We as Americans like to think this is how we get to express ourselves as we cast our single ballot for the candidate of our choice. Unfortunately, elections today are not what they used to be ... and probably will never be what they ought to be again.

Today our elections are hostile, partisan, biased to one side. Politics have become a blood sport. All that matters is that our side wins. And the winning is for everything, all the marbles, at every level.

When its over, some talking heads will wax eloquent, telling us that now, with a new president/governor/mayor (whatever), citizens of whatever stripe, Democrats or Republicans, Independents or Libertarians, will once again return to the great tradition of unity, binding up their differences to work together for the common good. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.

It might have sounded comforting (and was generally true) a few decades ago, but to hear it today is to wonder what kind of weed the speaker is smoking and where he got it. In case you haven't noticed, the toxins of partisan politics that had once been trapped within the Beltway around Washington, DC and a few other political hot spots around the country, has since been pumped undiluted into the national vein. It has now invaded the entire nation.

Cable news, much of it political and almost all of it partisan; talk radio, some of it virulent; the graceless decline of network news, until it stood undisguised, naked for what it had become, and seemingly unashamed in it ideological partiality; and major metropolitan newspapers, too many of which have given up their objectivity to become obvious organs for political parties ... all of these forces have helped to pump the toxin into the heartland of America.

So we stand on the sidelines confused and bewildered that somehow we lost our way and we suddenly realize that we can no longer simply cast our vote and sit back on the sidelines. Now we choose sides, pin on buttons, position yard signs ... conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican ... and become emotionally invested in the only thing that counts: winning.

It makes one wonder ... in the age of e-mail and the Internet blogger, the Instagramer and the Snapchatter ... how long can we survive before the lunatic edges of our societal spectrum drag us all to a future where differences in political and social ideology are settled Chicago-style. It's a horrible thought and causes me great concern for the well-being of our country, especially in light of my grandchildren's future and their offspring.

Ah, it sounds so pessimistic, so hopeless, so defeated, so desperate. And it would be except for one very important thing: that's not all there is! There is more to life than the politics of winning at ANY cost. There is winning at NO cost.

The truth is, we will always lose if we put our trust in politics. It will never pan out the way we thought it would, even if our best candidate wins. There is always failure, disappointment, scandal, broken promises, partisanship and just simply "playing politics." The reason for that is one word: sin. Sin causes brokenness and since we are ALL sinners, we are ALL broken and at some time or the other, though we may be "righteous in the sight of God and man," we will fail, we will disappoint, we will deceive, we will sin. That much is guaranteed.

What is not guaranteed is how we or those we support respond when we fail, when we disappoint, when we sin. Will we evade it? Will we make excuses? Will we cover it up? Will we point the finger? Will we just go with the "talking points"? Will we do what we have to do to just get past it? Or will we face it head on, admit we were wrong, acknowledge our deceit, our failure or broken promise? Will we accept our sin for what it is, confess it to whomever we have wronged and to God and go on with the assurance of forgiveness?

That's what you call winning at NO cost to us. The price has been paid ... paid by the blood of Jesus Christ. No excuses. No evasion. No cover up. No pointing of fingers. No talking points. Just a win, plain and simple. All at no expense to us!

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" [Romans 3:23]

"If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." [I John 1:9]

Have a great weekend in the Lord ... mindful that God is ultimately in control ...

PR

PS. In your prayers, please include our country, its leaders, direction and future.

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8:00 AM - Traditional Worship Service

9:40 AM - Sunday School & Bible Study Classes for all ages

10:45 AM - Contemporary Worship Service

Holy Communion is celebrated at both services on the first and third Sundays of each month.

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12200 McCormick Road
Jacksonville, FL 32225

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