There was no recognizable democracy for the people and places reflected in the Old and New Testaments. It was mostly clans and tribes eventually giving way to monarch rule. In the 1st century, Jesus lived in an occupied territory, Palestine occupied by Rome.
Yet, throughout scripture we see the fabric of democracy weaving together salvation history. It starts, of course, when God creates humanity in God’s image, thus endowing priceless worth to every single human being. The high call of faithfulness lives throughout scripture in the mandate to love God and love neighbor. In other words, every priceless human is called to love every other priceless human. That is the basis of democracy.
And, so, here we are with the American version of democracy hanging in the balance for a country that’s been the model of democracy for others around the world. Turning to scripture for democratic guidance in these days will illuminate the age-old message: love God, love your neighbor. This means it’s a given that my neighbor’s vote counts as much as mine, even when we vote differently—especially when we vote differently. More importantly, when the votes are counted, the mandate to love neighbor still stands.
The next few weeks will tell the truth of one of our own mottos—In God We Trust. We show trust in God by loving our neighbor. We betray trust by succumbing to fear and greed at our neighbor’s expense. We can choose what happens next in this country. Democracy waits.