Our church set aside our sanctuary and some time to pray on election night. It took place concurrently with a meeting and so the clergy at my church took twenty minute shifts over the course of the hour and instead of being bothered by the interruption, I found that I was grateful for the quiet on a frenzied night of meetings and election coverage. The candles and white calla lilies from All Saints day still covered our sanctuary. It was simple, pious atmosphere. I felt called into a quiet sense of responsibility.
While consecrating communion, I described the last supper this way.
And on the night Jesus gathered his followers around him he brought different people with different ideas to his one table. And we know that as the grain is scattered through many fields, it is gathered together in this one loaf, united by love.
At that moment, I needed to hold on to hope for our country and our community. Too often we think that a "house united" means everyone thinks the same thing, not that our differences are a gift that leads us into a better, stronger community. Seriously people, we can't all be thumbs.
Instead of praying for one outcome, I prayed for Wednesday. I prayed specifically for the people that I know have different political opinions than my own, not because I was “praying for the enemy,” but because I felt called to bring light into the moments of a breach of community and hope for our future together. My prayers weren’t that their mind be changed, but simply to hold them in love.
Wednesday comes after a yearlong argument. Our problems are still there --- a need for governmental income, more sustainable job creation, the ravages of a decade of war, and a climate that is changing with violent outbursts. I also believe that it is a patriotic duty to hold on to our convictions when your officials disagree with us. I hope that my conservative friends continue to hold us to standards of fiscal responsibility and respect for our institutions; I hope that my progressive friends continue to work for equal access to the benefits of living in our country.
Differences do not equate with the face of evil. An election going differently than your hopes is not a time to call for revolution or to threaten the lives of those who just became elected. It is not the time to say that you disown your family because they voted for a different direction for the country. This is the time to demonstrate to the world that we can move forward despite our strong, opinionated differences. Democracy is not merely about having an election, but forging a future out of the results of the ballot box.
I am holding all of us in the light, so that we can show that we are one, united in love. I am a Christian who believes that we are called into unity, not to be the same, but to hold each other in respect and hope.