Thursday, August 25, 2016
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry
This November we will gather together as a nation to vote not only to elect a new president but to elect governmental leaders on a variety of levels.
We are blessed. We are blessed as a nation to be able to do so as citizens of this country. This is a right, an obligation, and a duty. And indeed the right and the privilege to be able to vote is something that was won through an American revolution. Something that was won even more through civil rights and women’s suffrage. A right and a privilege that was won for all. So I encourage you to please go and vote. Vote your conscience. Vote your perspective. But vote.
But it’s not just simply a civil obligation and duty. Voting and participation in our government is a way of participating in our common life. And that is a Christian obligation. Indeed, we who follow in the Way of Jesus of Nazareth are summoned to participate actively as reflections of our faith in the civil process.
In the thirteenth chapter of Romans, sometimes a chapter that is debated among scholars and among Christians, St. Paul reminds us that we have a duty and an obligation to participate in the process of government, “For that is how our common life is ordered and structured.” And at one point he actually says, “For the same reason,” going on, he’s expanding, he says, “For the same reason you also pay taxes for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with everything.” That’s probably very true. “Pay to all them that is due them. Taxes to whoever taxes are due. Revenue to who revenue is due. Respect to whoever respect is due. Honor to whoever honor is due.” Now he’s talking about the role of government as helping to order our common life. But here’s what I want you to really hear. He continues and says:
“So owe no-one anything except to love one another. For the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments ‘You shall not commit adultery’, ‘You shall not murder’, ‘You shall not steal’, ‘You shall not covet’, any other commandment, they are all summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
For St. Paul, the way of love, the love of neighbor, is the fulfilling not only of the moral law of God, but the way to fulfill the civil law.
Go and vote. Vote your conscience. Your conscience informed by what it means to love your neighbor. To participate in the process of seeking the common good. To participate in the process of making this a better world. However you vote, go and vote. And do that as a follower of Jesus.
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church