May our elections be driven by love

Published 6:00 am Friday, October 23, 2020

Tis the season of elections. If this is news to you, you are living in a cave somewhere on the moon.

Dr. Pete Smith

While we have had our fill of ads, calls, debates, “friendly” discussions, and all other kinds of political promotion, the idea of elections is much broader and deeper than what happens the first Tuesday in November.

At the heart of the word “election” is the root word for choosing. Of course, that makes sense as we are choosing candidates to make decisions for us in our grand republic, but we elect things every time we have to make a choice. Did you elect to have breakfast this morning? What did you elect to wear for the day? Maybe some of you are still doing the stay-at-home business casual – PJs from the waist down. We elect everything from those to whom we speak, to journeys we make, to the people we marry, and whether to have kids. There are all kinds of things we elect, even surgery in some cases, hence “elective” surgery. It is a powerful and wonderful thing to be able to choose things. It is a beautiful expression of being a people of free will.

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I am firmly convinced we would not have this ability, however, if it did not originate with God. Maybe this is an aspect of what it means to be created in God’s image. God is the Prime Elector, the One who chose us into existence and who continues to choose us to be a part of God’s family. Think about it, God did not simply choose us once and be done with it. Sure, there was an original election when we were incorporated into Christ, but this was just the beginning of God continuing to keep us fast in God’s heart. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second God is reaffirming God’s election of us to be God’s special, chosen people.

Presbyterians have a long history of upholding the value of this choosing. We believe it even begins before time itself. Somehow from the very beginning, God has determined to draw us into God’s company and to be numbered among God’s special, chosen people. We are all captured in God’s grace so that nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. Yes, the Apostle Paul is big on this choosing thing, too (see Romans 8:38-39).

The question for us today is how we will continue to use this gift that God has placed in our hands. How will we continue to use our ability to elect some things over others? How seriously will our elections reflect God’s heart and our desire to love as we have been loved? It is certainly my prayer that however we choose in these days, our elections will be a genuine extension of the grace that chooses us. As God has chosen us in love, may our elections also be driven by love.

REV. DR. PETER SMITH is the transitional pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at