Faithful, Wise, and Active Citizens

November 6 is Election Day. In grateful response to God’s love in Jesus Christ, we exercise our right and responsibility to vote as a way we share the good news of Jesus and serve God, neighbor, and the earth. As an expression of our faith in Jesus Christ, we vote in ways that stand in solidarity with and advocate on behalf of those whom Jesus names “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). Solidarity includes faithfully providing food, drink, clothing, housing, healthcare, and visitation. Solidarity also means faithfully protecting rights and safeguarding opportunities. Advocacy involves participating in society as citizens, so systems and institutions more fully reflect and participate in God’s coming reign announced and inaugurated by Jesus Christ. To do this, Christians strive to be faithful, wise, and active citizens. 

As followers of Jesus, our citizenship is faithful. Faithful citizenship means our faith shapes our politics rather than our politics shaping our faith. The citizenship we seek is political, relating the gospel to government and public affairs, but not partisan. That “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20) does not relieve us of our responsibilities as citizens here on earth. Rather, our citizenship in heaven frees and empowers us to fulfill our earthly responsibilities as followers of Jesus. So, we vote as an expression of our faith.

Because we are followers of Jesus, our citizenship is wise. Wise citizenship is prayerful and discerning rather than predetermined. It is principled and not ideological, civil without being soft, collaborative and not siloed. Wise citizens understand the separation of church and state is a constitutional and not a Christian doctrine. Its purpose is to prevent the state from regulating or interfering with religion, not to remove religion from public discourse and debate. Wise citizens regard their right and responsibility to vote as sacred and godly and prepare themselves to exercise it.

Because we are followers of Jesus, our citizenship is active. Christians connect their faith and their roles as parents and siblings, consumers and investors, workers and employers, and, in this instance, voters. Christians regard casting their ballots as a way to practice charity, solidarity, advocacy, and justice in their own lives and in the lives of others. Christians regard their vote as a proclamation or sharing of the good news of Jesus and the way we serve God, neighbor, and the earth.

Loving God, creator of this world and source of our wisdom and understanding, watch over this nation during this time of election. Instill in us gratitude for the right to vote. Help us to hold this privilege and responsibility with the care and awareness it merits, realizing that our vote matters and that it is an act of faith. Grant that Jesus’ love, teaching, and example will inform our decisions and actions. Guide us in truth and love. Lead our divided nation, state, and communities through this election, and when the results are determined, bring us together for the common good that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you. We ask this in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. 


The Rev. Craig Alan Satterlee, Ph.D., Bishop

[1] This article is based on Craig Alan Satterlee, My Burden is Light: Making Room for Jesus in Preaching (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2023), 177-178.

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