Pastor Devin Strong
Spirit of Peace Lutheran Church
Before anyone reads this, election day will be over, and I hope that everyone agrees on who won, but I am writing this article on Monday morning, and the upcoming elections are much on my mind.
Recently, I heard the line that a vote is a prayer for the kind of world that you want to live in. I like that. It fits with my theology and reminds us that rightly understood, prayers and actions go together. It is also true that prayer should not be a single action but rather, a lifestyle.
So much has been written about how divided we are as a nation. For sure, there are differences between us. On the other hand, division generates excitement for politicians and ad revenue for journalists.
When you get past all the rhetoric and posturing, I wonder how far apart most Americans really are. Think about the core issues in this election.
Even Americans who think that our borders need to be much more secure have compassion for those who are desperate on the other side of our southern border.
Even Americans who want abortion to be legal in this country wish that there were fewer abortions and hate being in that position themselves.
Even Americans who think we are spending way too much money in Ukraine want to protect democracies around the world.
Even Americans who think that some police are too quick to the trigger and are sometimes guilty of racial profiling support the good men and women who protect and serve us.
Even Americans who are pro-gun want our homes and schools to be safe.
Even Americans who are concerned about election integrity want their votes to count, and we all want gas and food to be cheaper!
Maybe we are not as far apart as we have been led to believe. Wherever you are on the political spectrum, your prayer for the kind of world that you want to live in must not stop on election day. You and I must keep praying with our words and our actions, regardless of who wins the elections. In some cases, that may mean protesting policies that you think are wrong-headed, but it also means working to see that your congressman, senator, or governor is successful establishing programs that make the community a better place to live, even if she or he is from the other party. Our country is run by those who get involved.
That means getting personally involved in fixing problems. If you care about keeping schools safe, maybe you need to be a regular volunteer at school, so you know what’s happening there. If you care about eliminating abortions in this country, maybe you need to work on lessening poverty and improving affordable housing that would make abortions less likely. If your concern is police brutality, then maybe you need to work on improving the relationships between local officers and their communities. It is easy to blame the politicians and the media for everything that ails us, and while they have their share of the blame, you and I decide what we think about the neighbor across the street and the neighbor across the aisle. We decide what we are willing to do to make this world a better place.
Voting is crucial, but it is just the beginning of our prayer, not the end of it.