The Pslamist says, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps. 146:3, ESV). This rebukes my obsession with politics, as I watch the latest political drama like a jet liner pitching toward the ground and I can’t stop looking, as it explodes. I worship this obsession like a cult.
I hope my candidate wins, but if he doesn’t, I rely on that old saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself” because I share a fence line with my neighbor who is voting for the other guy. His beans border my hayfield. We will need to help each other if a storm smashes our lives. Bruce has done chores when they’ve taken day trips. They stop over and break up COVID loneliness. I look to their tree daily and find hope.
This election, I keep thinking about what President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” So tell me, what can we do for our country in this uneasy time? How can we hold the center?
Maybe there is wisdom from the same Psalm: “Blessed is he…whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry” (Ps. 146: 5 – 7, ESV). Even if we help God by doing justice, we must walk humbly. We must love mercy.
I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.
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I have another story about how our neighbors loved us. One evening, after church I was learning how to do altar guild when the phone rang. My hands were gloved up so Bruce took it, because it was from our neighbor. He told Bruce that the horses were out. He blocked them from going out to the busy highway. (There is a lingering story of someone whose horses got out on that road, killed someone, and the owners lost everything. The house and barn are abandoned.) I know how bad this could be. Our other neighbors’ cow stops them from going further because my mares are afraid of cows. But it was a nervous drive down a dark road to get home.
We’d gotten barely out of town when Terry called and said he’d captured the horses and put them back. He’d walked up the road to get their halters, while his wife stayed with the car to keep them from going towards the main road. They let him catch them and he walked them back to our yard. We’d left a gate unlatched. We said we owed him a steak dinner before I remembered his wife doesn’t eat meat. I have talked with him about church and he has said Nope, not going, because God had not done right by him. But even so our neighbor saved our horses, saved our heartbreak, might have saved someone’s life, by stopping on the road, calling us, walking to get their halters and taking them back to the barn. It helps that they know people bring good things like treats and hay. We’re not supposed to feed horses treats but maybe they too saved their lives. (One other time, they got out and a different neighbor caught them and put them back, so they will come to anyone.)
Bruce has helped Terry put up hay and he has helped him with two man jobs on a jeep he has overhauled. We gave him two large stumps of ash wood for his fireplace. But he cleared them for us.
Then the other day a different neighbor called asking me to bring halters because her horse was out. We got down the road as fast as we could and kept her horse from going out on the main road. Finally we opened the gate and got her to go back into her pasture.
This love your neighbor practice knits us together. It’s an exchange of gifts to make knit us together. It’s bigger than political opinions or even differences in religion. What we have in common is our bodies, how we feel, see, hear, smell, taste the world, how we meet it with these bags of water and muscle, blood and bone. There’s a saying in Christianity, “There is neither Jew, nor Greek, slave nor free…and I might add, gay or straight, black or white or hispanic or Asian, or Native American.” Here in the United States, we are all one people, in a most unique experiment to bring together a wild range of diverse background and ethnicities to make one country. And even though we might have different ways of perceiving what’s best, I hope we can work towards common ground and resist the stuff that seeks to make us afraid and angry at one another. And if that judgement rises, I hope we can look at ourselves, and see what it is in ourselves that we’ve not yet made peace. Sometimes our enemy is our greatest gift because they show us our shadow, call us to make peace with ourselves.
And that’s all I know for now.
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