By the title of the column some might think it is an endorsement of some kind. Don’t get carried away or let your mind wonder. When it comes to endorsing someone I will refer you to the bishops of the Church in the United States. They are the experts and many of them are heroes for speaking out in favor the real issues at stake in this election. Their defense and commitment to the dignity of human life, and their work for justice and peace are an example to us all. If you want to know who to vote for, ask them.
With that said, I wanted to take some time to reflect upon the central theme of 2008 presidential election. CHANGE. Anyone that has paid the least bit of attention knows that both candidates have claimed to be real agents of change and put forth their ideas for change in our country. According to them, we have to change healthcare, we have to change the way we use energy, we have to change the way we fight wars, we have to change the way we deal with other countries, we have to change the way we do taxes, we have to change we regulate education, and we have change the government works. We apparently were supposed to even change the way elections are run - and it is pretty safe to say that goal didn’t work out very well.
Observing the process of the campaign, and all that comes with it, it is quite clear that many people are hungry for change. The concept of change has taken center stage because people want something different. At this point, they are becoming followers of two men who seem to think they have all the answers. The have packaged this whole notion of change up in some nice wrapping paper and a great big bow. But here is my only question: What is at the heart of a desire for change? Is it really about healthcare, education, government, or taxes? It could be. But I think there is something deeper going on here. I am convinced that people don’t only want things to be different, at the same time they are yearning for something MORE.
My friends, perhaps they change we need is not a change from politicians or the government. The change we need is a change of heart. In the Church we call it conversion. And to go a step further, we need a transformation.
You see, I would propose that people want change so much because they are tired of feeling they way they do. They are tired of getting up every morning and wondering if this is all there is in life. We yearn for a purpose that goes beyond our daily schedules and routines. We yearn for answers that go beyond the short term fix, and temporary happiness. We yearn for change, but little did we know that we have to allow ourselves to be changed.
The change or transformation our hearts long for is a movement away from the thing that holds us back, the thing that distracts us, and leads us away from being who God wants us to be. The transformation we need is not only to say “no” to certain things, but perhaps more importantly, what we are saying “yes” to. The whole concept of change is so popular and makes everyone feel good because there is a possibility of something new and different to come. People get excited about new solutions and new ways of doing things.
Beyond the big ideas and solutions that candidates have for change, which comes down to more money and government, here is the change or transformation that is needed for those who follow Christ: Love God above all things, and love your neighbor as yourself. If we can allow ourselves to be transformed enough to have Jesus be the most important thing in our lives, the change or transformation we all long for will become a reality. Until Jesus becomes everything to us, a change of heart, or a change of culture for that matter, will just be a dream. Love of Jesus then becomes love of neighbor and the place in which we live begins to change. You would be amazed to see that the issues the candidates are discussing would take care of themselves if we all allowed ourselves to be transformed into the life of Christ. Abortion, poverty, war, the environment, and even tax policy would look different if the hearts of all Americans were in the right place. The change of heart is the change we need.
The crowds that show up to speeches wait in longs lines to see a man or women they think has the answer to their desire for more. The only unfortunate problem about this whole is process is that millions of Americans will wake up on November 5th and not feel any different. They put all their hope in those who could not give them what they are looking for. My friends, we do need change but not the change of this world but the change that Jesus wants to give us. Sorry senators, all do respect, but you can’t give me what I am looking for.
The change of Jesus, is change we can believe in!
God Bless You,