Following through (with our prayers) after the election

On the day after the elections, at Matins and Mass at All Souls, we offered words from the Book of Common Prayer (p. 820):        

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Leaders of our District, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

This is a fine prayer, as far as it goes.  I’m sure that it was prayed in many Episcopal Churches in our country over the past few days.  Some of our leaders themselves may have used this prayer or a similar one.  But saying the prayer once does not necessarily make for peace, wisdom, strength, truth, mindfulness, or any other thing we might hope.  Just as with campaign promises and plans, prayers also need follow-through.         

Though I prayed the prayer with intention on Wednesday, the power of that prayer will continue as I interact with leaders and others in the political process in the days ahead.  Through God’s grace, the intention of that prayer will reverberate as I encounter people who may disagree with my own particular political views.  Can we disagree while hoping for a common good, while calling the best intentions out of one another, and while trying to resist immediately attributing motive to the other?   

Some might suggest that such charity toward another has no place in the cold, hard world of money and power.  But the money and power don’t seem to be getting very close to solving our problems, do they?  I’ll keep praying for our leaders and for the many in our parish and beyond who work to support them, oppose them, and carry out programs and initiatives.  May God guide us all.

About John F. Beddingfield

Rector of The Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal) in New York City on East 88th Street between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave.
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