A Time for Politics — and Religion, by Jackie Cushman


Lent started this week. In the Christian tradition, the period of Lent is a time of fasting and prayer, preparation and reflection in anticipation of Easter, which commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus. Historically, Lent has been a time of instruction for new converts and young Christians as a way to strengthen their faith, as well as a time of reflection for believers to draw closer to God. Lent allows Christian believers to focus on God rather than the world. Through prayer and fasting, believers can change the patterns of their daily lives to allow time for introspection and contemplation.

Lent, which is derived from the Old English word lencten, or spring, begins just as winter begins to be oppressive and just as we transition into the next season. This year, the first day of spring is March 20.

While some people say politics and religion should never be mixed, this year’s calendar made that inevitable: Mardi Gras, the last day of celebration before Lent, fell on the same day as the talk on the state of the union. This year’s event felt a little more normal than last year’s, with the chamber of the House of Representatives filled with more people, many of them unmasked, as allowed by the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Joe Biden began by denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine; his pledge to stand with the Ukrainian people drew a bipartisan ovation. His only ad lib line of the night was a threat to Putin: He “has no idea what’s going to happen.”

While Biden’s speech was an attempt to shift the national conversation from its dismal approval ratings and to call out to the American people with a bipartisan message, Biden’s statement that “I want you to know we’re okay” was uninteresting and flat.

After delivering his message of unity with Ukraine, Biden moved on to domestic items, many of which were Democratic wishlist items that won’t happen. But he wove in an attempt to rewrite the history of the Democratic Party’s support for the defund the police movement. “We should all agree: the answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to FUND the police with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.” We will find out in November whether Biden’s attempt to shift the political focus from national failures to a united national front has worked.

Lent is also a time to redirect attention. Lent reminds each of us to be humble. That instead of focusing on ourselves, we should focus on God and how we can serve others. This lowering is opposed to the state of pride, exaggerated pride or self-confidence, too widespread in our society. Lent offers us a space to reflect and restore ourselves and our connection with God.

President George Washington understood the importance of personal values ​​as the foundation of a great nation. In his farewell address, written after serving eight years as our first president, Washington wrote: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.

President Abraham Lincoln also understood that he was only an instrument in the hands of God and that God’s will would prevail. Almost halfway through his first term, he wrote a private note: “God’s will prevails. In major contests, each party claims to be acting in accordance with the will of God. for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war, it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either side – and yet human instruments, working exactly as they do, are for the best. adjustment to achieve its goal. »

In this season of Lent, let us also be humble and remember our responsibility as citizens of our great nation. A democracy is only effective if its citizens are active. It’s our job to go into our communities and work together to make progress. Let us also remember that Lincoln reminds us that “it is quite possible that the purpose of God is something different from the purpose of either party – and yet human instruments, working just as they do so, are for the best fit to achieve his purpose”. Allow yourself to be human and to be used by God.

To learn more about Jackie Gingrich Cushman and read stories from other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Mega27 on Pixabay

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