I wrote this on Monday to share with the congregation. As I re-read it despite the uncertainties, I think it still holds:
We’ve Voted: What’s Next?
I’m writing this before I know the outcome of the election. I’m sure some of you are elated and some are dejected. So what’s next?
First, what’s next is prayer. Morning prayer on Wednesday November 4th begins in our chapel the way it always begins, “Lord, open thou our lips, and our mouth shall show forth thy praise.” Let’s begin this day praising God for the gift of life and use that life to be a blessing. Lord, open our lips, and let what we say be something that blesses and builds up a divided nation. I encourage you to pray for whomever was elected — or to pray for the nation as the vote counting continues and we wait.
Second, what’s next is love. How can we show our love of our neighbor today — especially the neighbor with whom we might have been estranged because of the bitterness of this election? You may be too raw to seek out folks with whom you disagree — that’s just fine. If your candidate won then I hope you will take a few minutes to be genuine and kind to someone you know may be hurting today. Elections have become so tense as a toxic mix of fear, anger, and distrust bubbles over.
Third, what’s next is serving others. Let’s use this election as a chance to recommit to serving the community and world around us, especially the least, lost, and lonely. That’s a Gospel commandment above any vote or politicking we might do. Jesus gives us far more direct commands about how we are to tend to the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the prisoner than he does about what our voting preferences should be. Think of a way to serve today and let’s do it.
Fourth, what’s next is generosity. What’s a charity, cause, or non-profit (yes, your church is a good choice) that could use your support? Who is building up our community and how can we support them? As our communities fracture and the bonds that tie us together fray we need to support those institutions that are helping to re-knit us back together and inspire us to deeper connection. Who is creating, equipping, inspiring, teaching, healing, and more?
Fifth, what’s next is hope. However things have evolved and no matter where things are going, we are first a people of hope. That Christ is on his throne is our hope. With that hope comes a recommitment to following that King of Peace. Hope also means believing, despite all evidence, that all things shall be well. Hope is not the magical suspension of belief in the powers of this world — hope is the belief that despite those powers we can and will, with God’s help, move ahead with faith, hope, and love.
Sixth, what’s next is justice. Our work on behalf of those at the margins must be unwavering no matter who has won. The Church’s treasure is the poor. The Church’s guiding principles have not changed no matter who won the election. It is our work to ask why people are hungry and not just feed them. It is our cause to not only give shelter to the homeless but fight for permanent solutions. It is our joy to lift up and protect LGBT folks whose dignity is always being challenged. It is our task to welcome the refugee and the stranger as we would welcome the Christ child. It is our duty to strive for racial justice and to break down the hatred that divides us and infects our hearts.
My friends, whether you rejoice, mourn, or are numb this morning, let us hold fast to Psalm 37:8 “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.” Let us be quick to love today, patient in adversity, and cautious in boasting. The winding course of our nation’s history has taken one more step forward. Let’s take the next and the next after that with faith, hope, and love.
Yours in Christ,