Do not put your trust in human rulers,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Almighty, their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry. - Psalm 146:3-7
Here's a psalm for every election season: don't trust them. You know who I mean. The ones who employ every means at their disposal to get from you something even more precious than your vote. They want your trust; your hope.
Why should you not trust them? Not because their promises are unrealistic, or pandering to certain interests, or just rub you the wrong way — though all that may be true. Don't trust them because they are mortal. Their terms will end. They make errors in judgment, same as you.
You knew this already.
But the wise Psalmist recognizes how easily we forget. How our longing for a just and compassionate world can be exploited. How ready we find ourselves to trust and hope in a human — even after we have been burned, time and time again.
That's why the Psalms are for repeating. Your trust and hope have extraordinary value: invest them with the One who is capable of honoring them. Don't expect to remember always; it's enough to remember to pray the Psalms.
Vote your conscience, to be sure. Ally yourself with those who, in the words of a great poet, "with no extraordinary power / reconstitute the world." And reserve your hope for the One who is the power of life itself.
You alone are good, O Holy One; you alone worthy of praise. May I never cease to remember: You make life; You keep faith; You give justice; You supply every need. Amen.
John A. Nelson is the Pastor of the Niantic Community Church (UCC/UMC) in Niantic, Connecticut.