Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ("For an Election," from The Book of Common Prayer, page 822)Well, it’s been a long haul! One thing I trust we can all agree on is that we’re ready for it to be over. I suspect that even the candidates (and especially their families) are as ready as the rest of us are to be done.
As the people of God, we are not of one mind about who will serve us best and we will not vote as a block. But I trust that we are all of one mind in agreeing that all human leaders and all political parties are imperfect, and fall short of the glory of God. They are both saints and sinners. Our ultimate allegiance is to a higher authority than Obama or Romney: it is to Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And that will be just as true tomorrow as it is today, when some of us are celebrating, some are relieved, some are disappointed, and others are frightened.
One of the things I love about being an Episcopalian is that the clergy don’t try to tell the laity how they should vote. I was ordained to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. In so doing it is also my fervent prayer that this "good news" doesn’t stay inside the walls of my parish. When I preach, I hope it takes hold in my parishioners lives and then goes enfleshed into the world and into the streets and to the schools and places where people work. The values of the gospel and of Jesus’ solidarity with the poor and of our baptismal promises to respect the dignity of every human being and to strive for justice and peace are not just words in a book. They are meant to shape our faith and to transform our hearts, as we seek to become instruments of God’s peace in the world, always with God’s help.
Our faith should influence our politics. But as we apply those values to foreign policy and domestic challenges such as the economy or healthcare, it is clear that we won’t all reach the same conclusions. The fact is that the challenges we face as a nation are complex, and difficult ones. Whoever is elected to serve for the next four years will need, and will receive, our prayers that he might lead with wisdom and courage. And we will continue to pray for this great nation, that it might be a beacon of hope and of liberty and justice for all.
(Excerpt from the sermon preached on the Sunday after All Saints, November 4, 2012, at St. Francis Church)