A Lion in Winter

By the Rev. Ken McClure

John McCain, Aug. 1936-Aug. 2108

John McCain, Aug. 1936-Aug. 2108

While there were many developments and doings that happened in the world this week, the one that my mind has been most drawn to has been the death of Senator John McCain. It's not the fact that his story has been one of heroism and sacrifice, though it has. Nor is it the fact that the instances when his lessor demons shouted down his better angels stand as a testimonial to the reality that even the best of us are not always representative of what's best in us.

No, the part of this that captures my imagination is the people he asked give his upcoming eulogy, former presidents George W. Bush and Barak Obama: the men who defeated him in his two attempts to become president. 

This past Sunday I preached on the difficulty of Christian teaching, and cited the call to love our enemies as an example. Senator McCain has demonstrated in death that while difficult, it is not impossible. This is not to say that these former opponents of his are, or ever should be considered his enemies; it is the perversity of our time that we look upon those we disagree with as nothing less than blood foes. Senator McCain's passing leaves a void in the American discourse and by extension all Western political discourse. The unifying voices are falling to silence or death.

In our Gospel on Sunday [John 6:56-69] we encountered a fracturing of the Jesus movement in response to the difficulty of His teaching. We saw that the element that maintained unity among the Twelve was their ability to look past the issue at hand and look instead toward the One who sits at the center. 

As we see our society galvanize around us it is crucial to tune our ears towards the voices that draw us together, to hold those things up, and to point to the presence of God within them. Senator McCain, as flawed as any other child of God, seemed to have truly tried to be such a voice. 

Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.