It finally came to an end.
The 2016 presidential election was the most divisive, vitriolic campaign in modern history. Only those who voted for or against Grover Cleveland in 1892 would recognize the malicious nature of this campaign.
Sixty percent of Americans said they were dissatisfied with the choices the two-party system gave to them this year.
By the end of the election, 82 percent of the country was “disgusted” with the overall campaign. Americans were ready to pull the plug on this election.
Donald Trump won in surprising fashion and will become the 45th president of the United States. This is good news for many people, but bad news for just as many.
North Carolina, considered a bellwether state, narrowly went in favor of Trump 50 percent to 45 percent.
Forsyth County, considered by many analysts to be a bellwether for North Carolina, went in favor of Clinton 54 percent to 45 percent. Surrounding counties like Davie and Davidson strongly favored Trump.
What that means for the congregation I serve, Ardmore Baptist Church, which happens to be a centrist Baptist church in many senses, is that we have many people who are happy and many who are sad about this election.
Even those emotional states fluctuate as well, from ecstatic joy to horrific fear.
So what is our church, and congregations similar to ours across the U.S., to do in this post-election world?
First, we should continue to do what we were doing in the pre-election world: Go to worship God and exalt the name of Jesus Christ.
As important as elections are to set a path for achieving the common good, they pale in importance to the call of the church to gather to worship the God of all nations and all ages.
God is still on the throne. The promises of God are still certain.
There is no need for despair if your party lost because God’s promises are not deterred by popular votes or an electoral college. If your party won, don’t make the mistake of thinking the kingdom of God has been inaugurated.
Second, be faithful to your church’s mission statement. Ardmore’s is “To connect people of all ages to Jesus Christ and one another in life-changing relationships.”
We continue to preach the gospel, reach out to the poor with good news, feed the hungry, go out on mission trips to Peru and other places, teach children the Bible, model for teenagers the Christian life, and show hospitality to our neighbors.
The election did not alter that for us. We are going to fulfill our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ in this local community of faith we call Ardmore Baptist Church, just as other congregations will do in their communities.
We are going to love one another whether we are a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or independent.
In so doing, we are going to model for our community and world how the body of Christ lives in the world, but is not wedded to the world.
We are aliens in this world, on a journey with Christ and the saints, to that celestial city. We are going to help clean the highways as we travel down them in this world, but our ultimate destination is a city not on this earth.
May God help us stay faithful to our mission and love one another along the way.
Don Gordon is senior pastor of Ardmore Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is a board member of the Baptist Center for Ethics.