Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Slightly Spiritual Thoughts on Election Day

--I continue to be amazed by how many people seem to have never met anyone outside of their political tradition.  I tend towards the liberal, but I know conservatives of all sorts.  Not only that, I talk to them; we have deep, meaningful conversations.  Clearly, in the caricatures I've seen spewed by far too many people, many people assume the worst of people who aren't just like them.

--But guess what?  Most of us have similar values.  We really do.  We want our children to be safe.  We want the future to be better than the present.  Everyone I know from every part of the political spectrum believes that we'd have a stronger society if people's basic needs were met.  I've yet to meet anyone who thinks that anyone deserves to go to bed hungry. 

--I point to church as a place where we meet people who aren't just like us; it's certainly where I've met the most people outside of my demographic description.

--Church also reminds us of our stories that show that God is alive and working in the world.  During an election year, it's all too easy to tumble into despair.  But our religious institutions, when they're at their best, remind us to dream of a world that's better than the one we inhabit now.  The best of our religious institutions encourage us to transform our corner of the world, not just to wait for Heaven.

--I also look to monastic traditions, especially the ones who pray for the world, even as they have withdrawn from the world.  We can pray too.

--On a day like today, let us all remember to pray.

--Here are some prayers for Election Day:

Prayer 1:   Just and merciful God, on this day help us to be wise as we cast our ballots.  Keep us from the dangers of despair.  Remind us of the times when the oppressed have been set free, and help us to be part of that process.  Give us the courage to do what must be done.

Prayer 2:   Generous God, as we head to the polls, help us stay mindful of those who have gone before us, those who didn't have the privileges that we enjoy.  Guide us as we choose our leaders.  Help us to discern which candidates will help bring to fruition the world that you envision for us.

Prayer 3:  Triune God, remind us that no matter what happens today, the sun will rise tomorrow.  Remind us of all the leaders who seemed a disastrous pick at the time but who went on to bring about important changes that we'd have never dreamed possible.  Remind us of the leaders with hard hearts that softened.  Remind us that you are a God who can make all sorts of dreams come true.  And remind us that we have a part to play too.

Prayer 4:  Creator God, on this Election Day, we pray for our country and for all countries.  We pray for our leaders, those of the past, and those we elect today to lead us toward the future.  We pray for all citizens, that we may be involved and not passive.

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