Fading Like Grass
The years of our life are seventy or eighty if we have the strength. A president’s years are four or eight if he has the votes. A supreme court justice has served anywhere from one year to thirty-six years, half a lifetime at most.
From the Apostle Peter’s perspective, all of our politicking is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. Our candidates wither, our parties fall, but something far more important remains and it is far more important precisely because it remains.
Maybe you can complete the quote from 1 Peter 1:24-25, that it is the Word of the Lord that remains forever and maybe you know that Peter himself is quoting Isaiah 40, but maybe you’ve forgotten how Peter is using the lesson that the grass teaches us and maybe you’ve never thought about how it might apply to our latest “most-important-ever” election.
Peter isn’t bringing out this profound and poetic statement from Isaiah in order to keep the cross-stitchers and the inspirational trinketeers busy. He’s teaching Christians how to treat each other in light of persecution and marginalization from the world. Since all flesh has been born from perishable seed, it is grassy and temporary. Any rejection and slander coming at you from such people is here today, gone tomorrow. It’s not even worth a worry.
But Christians have been born again from imperishable seed which is made imperishable by the Word of the Lord which remains forever. Christians are a forever people because we were born again from a forever Word. While our relationship with the world is fleeting, our relationships with other Christians are eternal, and so Peter tells Christians to love one another earnestly from the heart because you’ll be stuck with each other. Forever!
We prove that we understand Peter’s point every time we laugh off some embarrassing triviality like when the driver in the next lane catches us belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’” at the stoplight with the thought “At least I’ll never see him again!” Temporary, fleeting relationships don’t matter. Long-lasting, eternal ones do.
We prove that we don’t understand Peter’s point every time we allow some short-lived aspect of our withering, fading, grass-like, life to separate us from a Christian brother or sister. And as friendship after friendship dries up during a scorching election cycle, we need to be reminded that what we are talking about is grass-rooted politics, where all of our ideas, causes, and candidates, wilt quickly under the heat of the rising sun. Whatever this election brings will wither and fade into insignificance compared with how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ who may have different convictions and opinions about who should govern and how.
Keeping Priorities Straight
I’m sure you’re right that your friend’s political ideas are crazier than a road lizard. I understand that God clothes even the flowers with glory and that the political decisions made over the next few years will have a real impact on your life and the lives of people that you love. Grass matters, both to God and to your neighbor, so by all means make your case and attempt to persuade others.
But if your zeal for the cause and your need to be right mean that you lose even one Christian friend over this election, then you’ve chosen to love withering grass more than the enduring plants that grow from the Word’s imperishable seed.
So change the topic. Don’t post that rant. Comment once then let it go. If your friend makes a grass-rooted mistake, wait a few days. Grass grows back quickly. But make sure that your relationships with your brothers and sisters are rooted in something much deeper than the grass that is here today, and thrown into the fire tomorrow.
Love your forever family with a forever love.