The world watches on as the U.S. waits for the outcome. So, this week, the following reflections may give some scaffolding to our hopes and prayers. (Not just for this election, but for the way we want to live in our global community).
Choose this day whom you will serve... but as for me and my household, we will serve the Holy One. —Joshua 34.15
Choose, this day.
As for me, I will follow the Beloved.
I will spurn violence and all claim to dominion.
I will stand for justice:
that all may be included in the blessings of life.
With the Crucified One,
I will cast my lot, and my vote,
with the poor in spirit, and those who mourn,
with the gentle, and those who hunger for justice.
I will stand with the peacemakers
and those who are persecuted.
I will follow the one
who fed all who were hungry,
who healed all who wanted to be healed,
and welcomed all who were pushed to the margins.
I will speak only the truth, and only lovingly.
I will examine, confess and resist
my own complicity in systems that harm,
and surrender what I can
so my living may be a blessing for the poor.
I will accept the power God gives me
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves.
I will live with hope and gratitude,
with courage and generosity and kindness.
Choose this day whom you will serve,
but as for me, I will serve the God of love.
[Friends, pray for America…]
(Source: Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)
Rev Steven Koski, First Presbyterian Church Bend Oregon, writes:
I want to publicly announce who I believe will lead us out of the mess we’re in: YOU. Whoever wins or loses, what is at stake in this election and it’s aftermath is the kind of people we choose to be and become. No election can decide whether we will become bitter or better. No election can decide if we will shrink in fear or step up and in with courage. Only we can make that decision. Regardless of the outcomes of Election Day, the world we wake up to tomorrow will be on edge, fear will threaten to overwhelm and hate and violence will continue to be a threat. The way we choose to love is more important now than ever.
Whether today results in the outcome we fear the most or the outcome we most desire, the holy work of love that is ours to do remains the same:
To bring love where there is hate; to resist hate without becoming hateful ourselves; to shine light in the darkest corners; to offer hope where there is despair; to overcome evil with goodness; to be the presence of mercy where there is cruelty; to offer healing where there are wounds; to work for reconciliation where there are divisions and restoration where there is brokenness; and to extend generosity where there is need.
We don’t simply cast votes on Election Day. We cast votes every single day with our hearts, voices, hands and feet. Our best hope is not in who wins the election. Our best hope is in you, in us, together.
Turn aside for a few minutes today from the anxiety of election results. Find a way to practice kindness reminding yourself of the power of goodness that resides within you, a goodness stronger than evil. Take deep breaths today breathing in “Love wins!” and breathing out “Love always wins!” reminding yourself that if love isn’t winning, it just means the story isn’t over yet.
What is the holy work of love that is ours to do? That work is now more important than ever.
(Source: Steven Koski’s Facebook page, 3rd November 2020)
God of Justice and Peace, as the world rotates today, may your calm filter each corner of our communities. As many of us wonder “what happens next” in this very unusual year, we seek spaces free from anxiety.
God, my soul aches for humanity. I hurt when I don’t see my neighbors remembering that, they too, are connected with everyone else. The choices we make today impact not only ourselves but our neighbors across this planet.
As we walk this surreal landscape, we pray that we can choose to love our neighbors across this world. Turn the feet and the minds of those who bully, those who hate. May the dawn of your hope fill our souls with new possibilities, knowing that tomorrow may bring the light for which we’ve been searching. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Michelle L. Torigian, posted on revgalblogpals)
God, you are creating a world where everyone can live an abundant life. We confess that we often work against your creative spirit, instead creating systems that privilege a few and leave behind the rest. We confess that we benefit from injustice, and we often do not want to give up our spot at the top. We confess that sometimes the words we say and sing in the sanctuary do not match our actions in other parts of the building, let alone other spaces in our lives. We confess that we prefer to offer you what is easy and hope that is good enough to get us through the week. Forgive our inconsistent faith, our hypocrisy, our hard-heartedness. Open us to your way, and give us courage to walk your path of healing, reconciliation, justice, and peace. Amen.
(Source: Teri Petersen)
For those of us who want to see democracy survive and thrive – and we are legion – the heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten democracy as openings to new life for us and for our nation. . . .
Of all the tensions we must hold in personal and political life, perhaps the most fundamental and most challenging is standing and acting with hope in the “tragic gap.” On one side of that gap, we see the hard realities of the world, realities that can crush our spirits and defeat our hopes. On the other side of that gap, we see real-world possibilities, life as we know it could be because we have seen it that way. . . .
If we are to stand and act with hope in the tragic gap and do it for the long haul, we cannot settle for mere “effectiveness” as the ultimate measure of our failure or success. Yes, we want to be effective in pursuit of important goals. . . . [But] we must judge ourselves by a higher standard than effectiveness, the standard called faithfulness. Are we faithful to the community on which we depend, to doing what we can in response to its pressing needs? Are we faithful to the better angels of our nature and to what they call forth from us? Are we faithful to the eternal conversation of the human race, to speaking and listening in a way that takes us closer to truth? Are we faithful to the call of courage that summons us to witness to the common good, even against great odds? When faithfulness is our standard, we are more likely to sustain our engagement with tasks that will never end: doing justice, loving mercy, and calling the beloved community into being.
Richard Rohr writes: Parker Palmer’s understanding of the “tragic gap” recognizes that no matter what we do, we can never completely solve the problem. In all our actions, there is always a space left incomplete, imperfect, which God alone can fill. The search for “the perfect” often keeps us from “the good.” The demand for one single issue about which we can be totally right actually keeps us from reading the whole picture – often this is true in regard to voting.
Reference: Parker J. Palmer, Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit (Jossey-Bass: 2011), 10, 17–18, 191, 192–193.