Advertisement

Faith Column: Grant us Wisdom

Article content

Long haul or short-term gain? Who benefits and who loses?

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

These are two of the key questions I try to hold in my heart and head when we go into an election campaign. And this fall we are in two election campaigns at once! Certainly, there are different questions to be asked in a federal election than in a municipal election but those two at the start of this column hold true for both. And unfortunately, I am not sure the answers are always clear. Which is why I pray for wisdom to discern the best way forward.

In the Biblical book of 1 Kings Solomon succeeds his father David as king of Israel. In a dream Solomon is asked what gift he would ask God to give him. Solomon chooses to ask for “an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil”. God promises to grant this gift, and in tradition Solomon is counted as a paragon of wisdom ever since then. In our world, where we help select those representatives who make decisions on our behalf, we still need that gift of wisdom and discernment, even as we hope that the people we elect have that gift as well.

As we enter this election season, I think we need to stop and listen. Not to the candidates (that is a later step). We need to stop and listen to the world around us. Where is there groaning and wailing in the world? Who and what is crying out for relief, for change, for comfort and healing? I firmly believe that when we listen for these things, we open a window where God’s voice can speak to us. God has long spoken to God’s people calling for a new world, calling for a better world, calling for relief for those parts of God’s world which are struggling. We need the wisdom to sort out the various noises in our world to help us discern the best way forward.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

What do I hear when I pause to listen? What might help guide me in this election cycle? I hear groanings of the earth itself in regard to climate change. What is the wisest way to deal with that reality? I hear the cries of the people at the bottom of our economic and social pyramids. What wisdom might help us create a world where all have what they need to meet basic needs, where poverty is left behind? I hear the moans of people tired of dealing with an ongoing pandemic. What is the path through to the end of the pandemic?  What path do we follow to restart and rebuild afterward? I hear God whispering to me that some things have come to an end, that some things (maybe things I love, maybe things that make my life easier) have to be dropped so new things can be started.

The path of wisdom might be found in political platforms. Or it might not be. There is no political platform on the face of the earth that matches the Kingdom of God. As we listen, and reflect, and pray, and discern we may make different choices. On September 20th, and on October 18th, people of sincere faith will vote for different parties, different visions, different individuals. There is wisdom and foolishness on all sides of our politics. Anyone who tells you different is playing fast and loose with their definitions. Still our task is to look beyond the rhetoric, beyond the promises and look for the wisdom and the vision and the hope.

I asked two questions as I started this column. I want to push myself to consider them as I seek wisdom through these next weeks. When I listen for the voice of wisdom calling in the streets, I am forced to admit that we are too good at thinking of short-term benefits and not a long-term plan. I am equally sure that we have become good at asking “how do I benefit” and not “what is best for all of us”. I am sure God calls us to look at the long term, to look at how we can lift everyone up. The whispers I hear in my soul tell me that God wants us to think beyond the next election cycle, or beyond our own lifetimes, or beyond our individual bank accounts.

The world is in a difficult place. To move forward we must listen to the needs of the world and discern a path forward that takes those needs seriously. I close with one of my prayers, taken from a hymn by Henry Fosdick: “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days”

Gord Waldie/St. Paul’s United Church

Latest National Stories

Advertisement

Story continues below

News Near Grande Prairie

This Week in Flyers