“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that Scripture might be fulfilled, said ‘I thirst.’ Now a vessel of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus received the sour wine, He said ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:28-30
Those who are not familiar with the resurrection story, or who before the ending of Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ, could be forgiven for concluding Jesus’ words “It is finished!” meant that all was said and done. It is a potentially sad ending to a Hollywood movie about a heroic character who promised to radically shake up the world. He attracted and appealed to some crowds while angering and posing a threat to others. For the latter, he was arrested, sentenced to crucifixion and he died, uttering the final words “It is finished!”
I am not a theologian, and have not studied Biblical Greek, but I understand the phrase “It is finished” comes from the Greek Tetelestai, a combination of the aorist tense, which signifies something that happens at a particular moment in time, and the present tense, identifying something that was completed in the past with the results of which continuing into the present.
If you stayed till the end of the movie or read the rest of the account, you will know Jesus’ death and burial were not the end of the story. Rather, they were just the beginning of the story of atonement, redemption and Jesus’ ministry among us; a prologue to the work that was about to begin.
In democracies, many of us treat Election Day as the end. Once the ballots are cast and a victor is declared, we conclude “It is finished” and we go on with our lives. As my 7 year old recently said, “It doesn’t really matter that there is an election. Nothing will really change. We will still go to school, have summer break …” Her voice trailed off as she listed the things in her little world that will stay the same regardless of who forms government.
Elections are really the beginning, the implications of which continue into the present and the future; often many years into the future. As citizens, congregational leaders, community service providers, officers and employees working in a well-respected church and national social services organization, the opportunity to engage with our governments does not end on Election Day.
Post-election, there are plenty of opportunities to engage governments in non-partisan ways and to continue to work toward a just and fair society and the good of our neighbours and communities.
Will you journey with us as we explore what this election will mean for The Salvation Army and the communities in which we serve?
For more election information and resources go to the Public Affairs Election 2021 page.