The Democratic National Committee has announced that it will hold Sunday’s presidential debate in Phoenix without a live audience.
This will be the eleventh Democratic debate in this election season but the first to feature a head-to-head matchup between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race but did not qualify for the debate under the latest set of rules.
This announcement follows the decision on Tuesday by the Biden and Sanders campaigns to cancel campaign rallies in Cleveland. These changes are motivated, of course, by the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the nation and world.
Two principles follow.
One: Power is not measured by size.
The virus causing so much havoc measures one nine-hundredth the width of a human hair. Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders are running for what is often considered the most powerful office in the world. But the former is altering dramatically the campaigns of the latter.
Power is not always measured by size. A nuclear bomb that can fit in a backpack or briefcase can destroy Capitol Hill or the Kremlin. An acorn can produce an oak tree that grows to one hundred feet tall and lives for five hundred years.
Jesus made the same point in spiritual terms: “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the other garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches” (Matthew 13:31–32).
Every time you speak a word of biblical truth, you plant such a seed in an eternal soul.
Two: The audience we cannot see can be more significant than the audience we can.
The absence of a live audience in Phoenix may affect the dynamics of the debate, but it is not likely to affect its effect on the race. That’s because Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders are seeking the support not just of a few hundred people in a room but Americans across the country.
The writer of Hebrews encouraged us: “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). That “cloud of witnesses” includes the faithful who have gone before us (cf. Hebrews 11) as well as our Lord who sees us (Proverbs 15:3) and our Savior who prays for us (Romans 8:34).
Will you please your unseen Lord with what you think, say, and do today?