It’s been a long year; “Kid Advice for the Next President” and prayer on the eve of Election Day
Then [the elder] said to me,
“These are they who have come out of the great ordeal . . .
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 7:14, 16-17
It’s been a long year. On this eve of Election Day, many of us feel as if we have been through the great ordeal that John of Patmos testified to in his vision of the martyrs assembled before the throne of God. Although we cannot begin to perceive the depth of the great oppression in Asia Minor at the end of the first century, many of us could use a deep draught from the water of life, and the blessing of God wiping the tears from our eyes.
I reflected yesterday, as we heard the words of John from chapter 7 in the book of Revelation, that many of us have been forced into only minor adjustments as we make our long pilgrimage through 2020. Working from home, doing church in new ways, changing exercise routines and dining habits, wearing masks, perhaps growing in appreciation of the simple things – many of us have been inconvenienced but deeply fortunate even in these turbulent times.
But for others this has been a truly challenging ordeal. More than 230,000 deaths from this pandemic’s coronavirus have deeply impacted our nation’s people and the health care community that cares for us. Those who are out of work are scrambling to find a way forward as they exhaust their savings. Children who count on healthy meals at school are losing more than educational advancement as virtual learning continues, an alternative to the “in person” classroom. Our longing for social interaction is stressful as we fear the consequences of those interactions. And the fractured political and social climate has brought us to unprecedented dissension and a profound polarization of the electorate.
Still, with the seven churches of Asia Minor who received John’s Revelation, we have the assurance of God’s protection and a vision of the kingdom of heaven come near. This present upheaval has changed us, but we have a confidence that this too will pass. Even in our present brokenness, we will be blessed.
I have the privilege of sharing with you today a simple blessing on the eve of Election Day, a two-minute video made during the 2016 election cycle called “Kid Advice for the Next President.” A collaborative effort of the SALT Project, WFYI Public Media and students from the IPS/Butler Lab School, this little video offers advice for the newly elected or reelected president of the United States. Follow this link to receive this gentle gift, one that transcends our divisions:
And let us find moments of prayer this day. I offered the following Election Day Prayer just before the Sharing of the Peace yesterday in worship. Embracing a moment of quiet amid the cacophony of shouting politicians and pundits, let us pray.
Everlasting God, source of all liberty,
before whom every earthly ruler must bow and bend the knee,
we lay our nation before you as we prepare for an election.
Breathe upon us your Spirit of wisdom and discernment.
Help us elect trustworthy leaders, participate in wise decisions for our common life,
and serve our neighbors in local communities.
Grant all who seek public office the mind of Christ,
who came not to be served but to serve,
and to give his life for the freedom of the oppressed.
Hold before us those who face uncertain futures,
or who have no voice in our political process.
Uphold and safeguard poll workers and election officials in their work.
Spare us from the crushing weight of cynicism.
Give us grace to speak courageously, but with love,
without which our words are noise and we are nothing.
Bless the leaders of our land, that we may be at peace among ourselves
and a blessing to other nations of the earth.
Gather us together under the cross,
where, in all our difference, we can stand as one people,
redeemed in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Blessings to you, O people of Trinity. May you be safe, may you be well, and may you be held in love.
It remains a privilege to serve as one of your pastors.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Robert Linstrom