We Need a Shift in Hope
As the dust settles a few days after the startling results of the Massachusetts Senate election an interesting shift has taken place, and it goes much deeper than the alignment of our much-maligned Congress. A shift in hope has occurred. Conservatives across the entire country are walking with a bounce in their step, exuberant for their sudden change in fortunes. A common thread in all this adulation is that they feel like they have hope again; hope that things will turn out the way they want them to. The truly astounding part about this, however, is that it was only a few short months ago that the political left had this same bounce in their step, the same swagger, and the same feeling of hope. Much ink has been spilt dissecting the political ramifications of this shift in hope, but of far greater concern is the spiritual implications of placing our hope in a single politician.
The fascination with Scott Brown, and the excitement he is bringing to the Right, is nothing new. The same crowd greeted Sarah Palin with equal enthusiasm, and their counterparts on the Left carved uncharted territory with their cult of personality surrounding Barrack Obama. An undeniable part of our political reality is that we love to love our politicians (note: it is our politicians we love, the ones that have all the solutions, not the ones on the other side who are causing all the problems). We hang all of our hopes for the future on these individuals. Every time a charismatic leader, with a bright smile and catchy slogan comes around we will rally to their side, certain, beyond any doubt, that this is the person that will get our country on the right track. But as anyone who stops to think can tell you, this cult of personality fades, with all but the true believers decrying the false prophet that didn’t fix the economy, public schools, or the DMV. Our knight’s armor gets rusty, his ratings fall, and our hopes with it.
So why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we long so very much for someone to come save the day? Could it be that we were created with that yearning? Let us propose, for a moment, that there is something within us all that needs a hero, that needs someone tangible that we can hitch our wagon to. Ideas can be persuasive, movements can inspire, but only a person can truly captivate our hearts. And thus the Incarnation. Thus the glory of the incredible statement, “God became flesh and dwelt among us.” The Incarnation is what takes this ethereal concept of God and brings it down to our level. The Incarnation is when God got His hands dirty and showed us who we should follow, who we should place our hope in. And the beauty of it all is that this Messiah isn’t up for re-election, and He can’t be term limited out. He is the only one whose armor never gets rusty and whose campaign slogan never gets old, for his call of, “my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” will forever be good news.
No matter our political inclinations, we must learn to hope in Christ, not a fledgling campaign slogan or fleeting election returns. As humans who need to have an example to follow, there will always be the temptation to see in a politician the answer to all our problems. There will always be new problems and new politicians promising to fix them. But thankfully there will always be someone whom we can confidently put our hope in.