In the wake of that conversation, he wrote a prayer that we have been using in worship for the last few weeks. It borrows some language from our Book of Common Prayer, and I edited it lightly, but it is largely his creation. I'll include it at the end of this posting. As we approach November 8th, I commend it to you as an addition to your own personal prayer practice.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry has spoken about the importance of Christians (and specifically Episcopalians) going to the polls next week. In fact, he calls voting a "Christian obligation." Our Bishops, here in Connecticut, have also written a letter urging us to do the same. They remind us, too, that the overall tone of this election is "not worthy of our country's great democratic ideals."
And so, mindful of our chief pastors calling us to vote - and reminding us of the way in which we treat one another, I'm writing also to encourage you to go to the polls. I do so with a great awareness of the fact that we do not, in the Episcopal Church, endorse any specific candidate(s). While there may be other pastors and denominations in which this is common, it's not part of our tradition. However, as Christians, we believe in discipline and personal responsibility. So it should not come as a surprise that so many Episcopalians are speaking out about the importance of voting - about the privilege and responsibility of participating in our great process of democracy. So, while I will not endorse a specific candidate, there are two thoughts that continue to bubble up for me as this election approaches.
First, I want to echo our Bishops call to go and vote. Vote your conscience. Vote your faith. Vote within your Christian identity, as someone who believes in the good news of Jesus Christ. Vote as someone who heard Jesus say last week in the Gospel that "the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). Vote knowing that as a part of the Body of Christ, this decision and all of your decisions affect the rest of the body - the people to whom you (and we) are connected all around this world. Vote knowing that you are exercising your voice in a way that is profoundly Christian. Vote.
And second - I pray that we will all keep in mind that when this election is over, we all will still be here. There will be a country that needs to get on with the work of governing, elected leaders on both sides of the aisles, on many different sides of issues, who will have work to do together. There will be people all over this great country who are either joyful or disappointed. And because this election cycle has been so divisive, there will be some healing that needs to be done. Regardless of what happens at the polls on 11/8, there will be bridges that need to be rebuilt and relationships that need to be re-imagined. When this happens, I pray that as Christians, we will be able to help repair those breaches, to speak peace in the face of conflict, and love in the face of hate. Our God teaches us through scripture and tradition that we are all connected, all responsible for one another - and all part of God's family. Together.
I will be unable to be at my polling place on 11/8, so I have already mailed in an absentee ballot. Please join me in taking up this great privilege of a civic duty, and to do so faithfully, with Jesus in your heart. God bless you as make your decision. God bless you no matter the outcome. And God bless this great country that we call home.
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide us as we prepare to elect new leaders in our country and in our state. Remind us that we are responsible for the health and wholeness of all of our brothers and sisters, but especially those who are hungry, homeless, sick and wounded, oppressed and bereaved, lonely and anguished. Give to us the ability to see clearly, and to choose wise leaders who reflect your commandments in their words and actions; give, O Lord, to all the candidates elected your spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice. Enable all of our elected leaders to enact justice with kindness so that the rights of all may be protected and our nation may be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.