I am thankful for the prayer-filled leadership of Bishop David Bard. Let us encourage one another to continue to do the work of Christ in the world and to be patient and faithful as we head into the week of the election.
Bishop David Bard:
This week our nation will engage in one of the fundamental practices in our political democracy, voting. It is not the only important practice that keeps a democracy healthy and vibrant, but it is a critical practice. As the late congressman John Lewis once wrote: “The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.”
Like many of you, I have already cast my ballot, and trust ballots that were mailed or dropped off will be safely and accurately counted. I encourage you if you’ve not already done so, to vote. When you vote, let the moral principles of our Christian faith inform your discernment. In saying this, I understand that though we share a common faith in Jesus Christ and the same Scriptures, we may draw different conclusions about how best to express our faith in our political choices. I want to say simply and clearly, vote.
Given this election’s contentiousness and the swirl of statements about the voting process itself, many of them half-truths if they even rise to that level of credibility. It is important to acknowledge the likelihood that final election results may not be known on election day. In a society that has come to expect quick responses, or at least annoyingly soothing music while all representatives are currently assisting other customers, we are not very skilled at waiting.
” … no matter the election results, we ought to expect neither the imminent arrival of the kingdom of God nor the apocalypse.”
I want to encourage patience with our election process. I also want to remind us that no matter the election results, we ought to expect neither the imminent arrival of the kingdom of God nor the apocalypse. The long work of justice, compassion, peacemaking, reconciliation, and love may be enhanced by those we elect or made more difficult, but know this, that long work to which we are committed by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord will continue.
In 1963, in the midst of an earlier intense struggle for civil rights for African-Americans, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel sent a telegram to then-President John F. Kennedy, which ended with these words: “the hour calls for high moral grandeur and spiritual audacity.” So, too, does this hour.
Let us pray.
God of change and glory, God of time and space, as we face the future, give to us your grace, grace that we embody as patience as we wait for election results — letting your love cast out our fear, grace that we embody as hope – trusting your on-going redemptive presence in our world, grace that we embody as determined courage to continue your work of justice, compassion, peacemaking, reconciliation, and love. Indeed, this hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity. It calls for people deeply formed by your grace and love. Empower us to be such people. No matter the results of an election, your work in the world continues, and we want to be part of it. In the name and Spirit of Jesus. Amen.