I’m not entirely sure what will happen on November 8. I do know that people are tired. I’m tired. And regardless of who ends up with the most votes, when we wake up on November 9 there will be people who are angry. There will be people who are heartbroken. There will be people who are scared. There will be people who are relieved or excited and there will be people saying “I told you so.” There will be people wondering “what now?”
This isn’t about changing anyone’s mind or vote between now and then. What it’s about is the fact that after Election Day, no matter what boxes we checked or what bubbles we filled, we’ll all still be here as part of the same cities, the same schools, the same worshiping communities. Borrowing a page from writer Anne Lamott‘s repertoire, I’m tempted to stick to one of the most basic prayers there is:
But for those of you who, like me, tend to be a little wordier at times, here are some thoughts I’m offering to God in this messy season. Part question and part confession, with some hope (I hope) thrown in for good measure.
Lord God, we have heard that you calm storms, but it sure feels like we’re in the middle of one. Wars rage overseas and violence erupts in our own cities, yet it seems like all we can focus on is proving each other wrong. There’s talk of physical walls in the future, but we’re already busy building borders in our own hearts. You created us to be diverse. But instead of trying to understand each other, we bristle and condemn.
There has got to be more than this. There’s a time for prophecy, a call toward justice, and an urge to speak truth to power. You don’t promise us comfort, but there has got to be more than this. When we feel your Spirit nudging us to speak out, help us to listen and to act, but help us also to choose our words carefully and kindly.
Help us remember, Lord, that each person we talk to, each person we talk about, is a child of yours. Help us to remember that people are just that — people, not to be simplified to one issue, one party, or one post.
When we encounter enmity, let us embrace empathy.
When we hear hate, let us sing love.
When we think “they’re wrong,” let us ask “where are they coming from?”
When we hope for peace, let us do our part in creating it.
Lord, your forgiveness leads us to forgive others. But sometimes we need help. Help to find the common ground between our own convictions and the contrary. Help to reject the polarizing of people. Help to remember our shared humanity.
Hear our prayers, O God, and move among us in this time of transition. Nudge us when we need it. In your son’s boundary-breaking, connection-making name we pray. Amen.