by Tomo Duke, Faith Action Network in Washington [about the author]

I visited the Washington State Capitol a few times this legislative session to advocate with our elected officials. I walked through buildings filled with elegant marble and golden interiors and observed many people dressed in fancy suits. I thought the grandeur created an illusion about elected officials’ status and power.

In a culture that tempts us to fall into idolization of elected officials or political apathy, what kind of power and accountability do we share?



In his Epistle to Ephesians, Paul reveals a vision of a new unified community among Jews and Gentiles through Christ. It is difficult to bear witness to this vision today in our contemporary political characterizations of red and blue, polarized ideologies, and deepening alienation between privileged and marginalized people. As the 2024 election season is rapidly barreling toward us, a competition for power is amplified. A true sense of a unified community seems remote.

But after sitting with Ephesians 3:10, I was reminded of the great power of God which redeems what’s been lost and reconciles what’s been divided.

Ephesians 3:10 claims the wisdom of God as the greater power which transcends earthly places and will reach “the heavenly places.” We must not be deceived by the worldly powers that possess an outer, physical manifestation – like the fancy government buildings and the elected titles. The inner wisdom from God appears embodied in our beings and our relationships with fellow human beings and creation.

Christ demonstrated His power not in military prowess but in His consistent presence with those of us described as lowly, afflicted and the ‘least of these’ by pouring out love. This power is never scarce but grows in abundance the more it is shared among all people, all creation.



What I look for in elected leaders and candidates is deeper than their political party or position on hot-button policy issues. I look for those who ground their worldly power in their inner spiritual power that they are willing to share. I wish for leaders who multiply the power of the Spirit by releasing their attachment to the possession of worldly power.

Power is shared in moments like when elected officials step off the floor to meet their constituents, or when they value their time to just know and listen to their constituents by standing outside the power structures. Power is shared when constituents of diverse races, ethnicities and faith traditions from the district come together with their elected officials to share individual lived stories. Power is shared when we acknowledge humanity and equal dignity beyond one another’s societal role in the worldly hierarchy.



This is being posted on Ash Wednesday, a day when the church remembers, “you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Dust is our universally shared context. We often forget that we share in our fragility. For those in elected offices, who have the worldly power to affect millions of people at the stroke of a pen, I believe accepting the truth of our common fragility is especially important.

The spirit-filled power of love, justice and compassion needs to be shared among us and be known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tomo Duke (she/her) serves at Faith Action Network (FAN) in Washington state. She was born and raised in Japan and has lived in the United States since 2014 as a first-generation immigrant. She graduated with a M.Div. from Duke University in 2023 and holds a B.S. in Political Science. Prior to joining FAN, she gained experiences in immigration service from humanitarian relief to policy advocacy for immigrant justice both in secular and faith-based contexts.