November 3rd will mark the twelfth time that I have cast a vote for the President of the United States. Full disclosure, my preferred candidate has not always won. Which also means that my preferred candidate didn’t always lose. With each election cycle the amount of information forced upon us has been more than anyone should have to process. The hype used to promote the importance of the current election stretches the limits of one’s imagination.
But as I look back in time, I can see that the nation has withstood the test of time again and again. When all the dust settles after this election, the gloom and doomsayers and all the fear mongers will slink quietly away into the dark recesses of our society patiently waiting for the next four year cycle to pass when they can once again emerge from hid- ing to take center stage. Thankfully, as a nation we have endured. I do not expect to see that change in my lifetime.
Certainly we are an imperfect union. We struggle with race, gender, and issues of equality. The fact that we are constantly engaged in these struggles would suggest that we live in a country that is worth the many sacrifices that have been made and will be made in the future for our democracy to live.
A few years ago, the Sunday after a presidential election, I had a parishioner come speak to me. She said she didn’t think she could pray for the new president-elect during the Prayers of the People during our worship services. I listened to her reasons without comment. When she was finished I spoke with a calm and gentle tone. I told her that I understood and that she didn’t have to pray for someone if she wasn’t comfortable doing so. That said, I told her she could no longer lead the Prayers of the People on Sunday morning. Essentially, I gave her permission to walk away.
A couple of days later, the same parishioner came to my office to speak with me once again. After thinking it over, she had decided that she would give it a try and would pray for the newly elected president. I nodded in agreement and pointed out that God expects no more or no less from all of us. We are to try and love our neighbor as ourselves. In the Episcopal Church it has long been our custom to pray for our duly elected officials regardless of political affiliation. We pray for them by name. We omit no one.
So here at All Saints’ we will continue to do the right thing. We will pray for our elected leaders regardless of how we choose to cast our ballots. We will pray for them because they will definitely need our prayers. We will pray for them because each of us is a child of God created in the image of God. At this parish church when we say All Saints’ we really do mean “All.”