By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Campaign of Eternal Import

Today in Alberta a provincial election has been called to take place May 5th. That means a month of campaign speeches, advertising campaigns, door-to-door visiting, and so on. All of this is aimed at winning votes. The political parties all hope to be elected to govern the province, and in the campaign can be expected to make more than a few promises. It is not unusual to hear people question the reliability of such pledges. More than a few say that such elections do not excite them.

It is ironic that the election call took place early in Easter week. What will capture the attention of Albertans over the next month is in stark contrast to the “election” celebrated by Christians in the fifty days following Easter. The former is aimed at securing a victory in political terms that will last but a time; the latter celebrates a victory already won and lasting into eternity.

From the beginning of time, God “elected” us to be with him forever. Therefore, in response to the sin of Adam and Eve, which separated humanity from God, he set in motion a “campaign”, a plan, whereby he would continually communicate to his people the message of his love and mercy, knocking without cease on the door of their hearts, promising again and again to bring them salvation. God is absolutely true to his promises. His pledges are, without doubt, fully trustworthy. So, true to his word, God the Father “elected” his Son to come to earth as our Saviour, born as Jesus of Nazareth from the Virgin Mary. In his turn, Jesus “elected” to be obedient in all things to the will of his Father, even to the point of death on the Cross. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead manifests God’s definitive victory over sin and death, and makes Jesus the fulfillment of the Father’s promises, “the source of salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9).

Furthermore, the victory of Jesus over death makes clear the full wonder of God’s original design for us. From the beginning, St. Paul tells us, God “chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1: 4-5) God chose us to be one with Jesus Christ so that, in Christ, we might be his children! Now and into eternity!! We have been elected by none other than God!!! He has chosen us, not for any merits on our part, not for our track record or on the basis of things we promise to do, but solely because of His love and mercy toward us.

And THAT is an election, which is truly exciting!!!