Shortly after the events of September 11, 2001 I recall saying to someone, “Nothing can be the same again. Everything is different now.” In some very real ways that’s true (have you flown lately?). But in the main life has gone on pretty much as it did. We wake up, we go to work, we come home, we watch mind-numbing inanity on television, we drink a couple of beers on Saturday, we go to church on Sunday.
In the minds of many this morning, the world has effectively come to an end. The already of the rise of the Antichrist has happened, all that’s left is the not-yet of the horror of his reign. In four (or eight) years, however, it is likely that we’ll not feel like much has changed. This does not mean that things won’t be different – doubtless they will. But our capacity for adaptation will cause us to perceive the days to come as completely normal. Even if it looks nothing like today, we’ll redefine normal so that we’ll hardly remember what it used to be like.
As one era gives way to another we become inhabitants of a new environment. While many of us can remember the days before fax machines and cell phones and the ubiquitous internet, few of us can imagine life now without them. The world has changed, and we have changed with it. The world is changing and we are changing with it.
If history is any indication of the future (and I think it is), things will indeed be very different as the result of the Obama presidency. Every president leaves, for better or worse, his mark on the nation and the world. Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and now Obama. These are the presidents of my lifetime and there is greatness and shame associated with all of them. All of them. It has always been thus. But in the end, we’ll get up, go to work, come home, rot our brains, drink beer, and go to church. That is what we do.
That said, the responsibilities and commission of the church remain the same. We are to pray for and submit to those in authority over us. We are to tell all (in word and deed) of the surpassing greatness of the King. We are to disciple the nations, not least our own. We are to forsake all kings and kingdoms for the sake of the King and Kingdom which do not change. We are to inform and influence the world with the gospel. We must jettison hope of causing the world to conform to our standards through the means of kings and courts. We must place our hope only and always in the gospel that Jesus Christ is Lord (and all that that entails).
The election of Barack Obama truly changes nothing.
[Edit: Here are some thoughtful and helpful responses to the election of Barack Obama to the presidency.]
[Edit dos: This is just funny.]