Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Prayers for Election Day

Here we are, in the wee, small hours of election day, the calm before the polls open across the nation.  Some of us have already voted; many of us will report to do our civic duty today.

We have spent too many months spewing vitriol, some of us, and we've all been exposed to more ugliness than I remember seeing in any campaign season that I've been alive to see.  Those of us born after the fascist/strong man embraces of the earlier parts of the 20th century and spent our lives feeling lucky to have avoided front row seats at those debacles, we may be feeling all sorts of shivers today.

And those of us who are aware know that all the ugliness won't be over tomorrow.  How on earth can we repair what's been ripped apart?

I take a longer view than many people.  I am aware that decades/centuries of exile can be ended in a big swoosh.  God has softened harder hearts than ours.

I am an optimist at heart.  I see this election season as a hopeful one, even as it has driven so many of us to despair.  With a decision this stark, we have been forced to think about what we want.  It's not like past elections, where we basically had to choose between 2 men of similar temperaments who existed at the center of the political system.

So even though the ugliness won't end tomorrow, perhaps we will be inspired to help build the communities and institutions that we want.  And we can as for God's help--I fiercely believe that God wants more for this earthly creation too.

Four years ago, on an election day which now seems so different, I wrote the following prayers for election day.  They still seem like good prayers for a day that can be so divisive:

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.

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