Note: the video was filmed before the results of the election, but the message remains the same as it was designed to be relevant no matter what the outcome. Print version with only slight modifications follows below the video!
Earlier this week I prayed that I might be at peace no matter what the election results. I felt an intense sense of calm as the Holy Spirit reminded me of the many things that would not change, no matter who became President.
God would still be God: the King would still be upon His throne. His promises would still be true. Heaven would still be open. My friends would still be my friends. I would still love who I loved, and they would still love me. I would continue to believe what I believed. I would keep trying to spread hope. The church would keep loving people and helping those in need. The world would keep turning. Even if someone were to call the earth “flat,” it would continue to turn. It would still be a beautiful day.
Now that the election is over, or at least seems to be over, it’s time to pick up the pieces. A lot of things have been broken this year; some have been broken for years. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of politics. But I’m not tired of America, of democracy, or of our ideals.
Here are three main categories of broken things: unity, hope, and a sense that what we do matters. The culprits: division, fear, and apathy.
We face a divided America because we see each other as opposites when we’re not opposites. Having different political beliefs does not make people opposites, just as being a Yankees or Mets fan does not make the other team our enemy. If we honor the United States of America, then we are called to reflect on the meaning of the word united. Creating divisions is not, nor has it ever been, the American way. In the same way, we are called to unity as Christians: one Lord, one faith, one baptism, concepts that are larger than any individual. We pray that all unity may one day be restored.
The second challenge is that of fear. It was said of this campaign that fear was the motivating force for both parties: fear of what the other candidate would do if elected. These fears were exaggerated until they reached the level of the apocalyptic. But it’s hard to hope when we’re afraid, and we all need hope right now. This hope begins by having hope in each other, hope in our nation and hope in God. Paul writes that we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of courage. Throughout the Bible, 365 times God, or Jesus, or an angel says, “Don’t be afraid.”
We have also been plagued by a sense that what we do has no impact. The world’s problems are too big; what can we do? How can we stop climate change, the coronavirus, the economic downturn? By concentrating on what we can do in our own churches and communities. We can affect the lives that are right in front of us. We can keep people in Sayville from starving. Through our thrift shop, we can help people make ends meet. By wearing masks and practicing social distancing, we can keep the virus out of Suffolk County and keep our businesses open.
There are big challenges ahead of us, but we are not only Americans, we are Christian Americans. We have the best double set of ideals in the world, shared by Republican and Democrat alike. On the one hand, democracy, equality, opportunity, liberty and justice for all. On the other, loving God and loving our neighbor; kindness, goodness, faithfulness. And now we put the two hands together in prayer. We already have everything we need. The sky’s the limit when we work together, when we pray together, when we put our own wants beneath our nation’s needs and our God’s commands. God bless you, and God bless America. Amen.