The long-awaited presidential election is over. Many in our nation are celebrating; others are dismayed and grieving. Some think we elected the perfect person in Donald Trump to shake up the establishment in bold new ways; others are fearful for what this “outsider” candidacy might mean as we move into the future as a nation amid an increasingly complex global reality.
Some are frustrated the polls and predictions came up short; others delight in open-ended possibilities. One common denominator, about which I imagine we can all agree, is that divisions among us are real: divisions of race, gender, economic and educational alignment; divisions of geography in urban, suburban, exurban, small town and rural America; divisions of understanding about civility. The list goes on, and how we move forward, as Americans and as global citizens, to work for the common good is a matter of great importance.
As I ponder the election, the media’s role and spin, the public reaction and all these divisions, I am grateful for this prayer written by my friend Jill Duffield, Editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, for the day of the election and these days that follow:
Almighty God, as people go to the polls this day we pray first and foremost for peace. May the sense of community and connection be greater than any division or difference, no matter how entrenched. Knowing we will vote in schools, churches, synagogues, and other communal gathering places, may our commitment to care for one another grow as we stand in lines, talk to our neighbors and recognize we have more in common than we often realize. May we show one another kindness and respect, today and in the days to come.
We thank you for the freedom to vote our conscience, of which you alone are Lord. After this election, we are keenly aware that even if the political rhetoric fades, the acrimony it highlighted will remain. Grant us the courage to step into the breaches and not shrink back into our enclaves of homogeneity. Send your Spirit to drive us to the places where you are already working to bring reconciliation. Remind us relentlessly that you are greater than every category we devise, more powerful than any estrangement we have created, eternal, ever present and always calling forth justice, peace and abundant life. Show us today and every day how to live in the love of Jesus Christ, the perfect love that casts out fear. Amen.
I plan to pray daily in the coming weeks – not just for the concerns of the church but for our country – as I consider how the church of Jesus Christ is called to God’s ministry of reconciliation and how our particular congregation will live into that calling anew.