Updated: Jun 15
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
The Bible is rife with stories of God challenging the Israelites for worshiping other gods, even to the point of punishing them. Last spring, as Covid lodged itself firmly into the fabric our daily lives, I realized that I had a god. Even at my advanced age, I love to be active—especially playing my favorite sport, pickleball, and having a round of golf periodically. But that came to a screeching halt when it became clear that I was high-risk.
At least, I reasoned, I could watch Mariners games and other sports on TV, like March Madness. When that didn’t happen, a major Charlie Brown cloud developed over my head. It dawned on me that a god I worshiped for my entertainment and earthly fun was sports.
During this time of national division and angst, politically and racially, I began to wonder about other gods that people may worship, for example, a political party or some social issue. Of course, there are many other secular and material gods, such as money, comfort, career, sex, and more. But in these challenging times in our history, when we are groping to find direction in terms of peace, justice, and democratic fairness and truth, are we so enamored with our political or social god that conversation with “the other” is impossible? This god is understandable for the “Nones,” the 34% in our state who answer “none” when asked their religion, and for the 45% of the voters here who never darken the doorway of a church.
But how about for the others, who at least to some degree worship another god, the God, who created the universe, life itself, and specifically, each one of us? The God whose precepts have been laid on our hearts (Proverbs 3:1) and whose life lessons and principles of unconditional love, forgiveness, and “counter cultural-ness” led Jesus to interact with “others” like tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor, and the wealthy during his walk on earth 2,000 years ago? With God, we might find more common ground and realize more peace and progress.
According to a Pew Research Center study, close to half of both Trump and Biden supporters have few or no friends who supported the other guy. We tend to live in our own bubbles in our neighborhoods, in our work, and sometimes in our churches, surrounded by people who think like we do and have a world view that elevates our chosen gods of national politics to the primary source of meaning in our lives.
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven, says The Teacher, Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 3. A time to love and time for peace (3:8), a time to be quiet (3:7) (and listen), a time to heal (3:3), and a time to mend (3:7). Maybe it’s time to put our politics, mainly our pet political gods, aside, and measure our thinking, words, and actions against those of God, which can lead us to a more kingdom-like country.