I’m getting really good (at least in my own eyes) at finding synchronistic meaning in the morning Scripture readings with the events of life. Today is Election Day in the United States and although it is a mid-term election year, it could be historic even though we are not electing a President this time. The balance of power in the Congress is at stake and there is also a huge increase in the number of women standing for election this year. Taking the readings in reverse order, I see clear messages for us today.
- In the gospel of Luke (14:15-24) we hear of a man who gave a great dinner to which many were invited. When the time came and the dinner was ready, those who had been invited made excuses for their inability to come. As a result, the poor, the blind and the lame ate well that day. I often think of the shameful statistics of our participation in the election process in the United States. We have a privilege denied to citizens of many countries in the world and we often fail to exercise it. We complain about our “leaders” but do nothing to change the election results. We stay home from the polls in great numbers because we are lazy or frustrated with the government when the way to change things is simply to show up! One bright spot this year is that the largest number of citizens voting in this election cycle is purported to be the youngest citizens eligible (18-30 year olds). If true, that could be a sign of change to come. The message to us for today: GET OUT AND VOTE!
- Psalm 22 calls us to praise the Lord in the Assembly of the people. It’s about doing justice and fulfilling “the vows we have made” – one might say, as citizens of this country, to educate ourselves about what is going on politically and how we can effect changes in what not longer works. It seems from events of this past year that we should be listening to the youngest cohort of eligible voters so that the words of Scripture may be true of us. Let the coming generation…proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice that [God] has shown.
- When all is said and done today, our hope is for acceptance of the result without rancor. That is the beauty of a democratic process. Whether or not our preferred candidates are elected, we travel on together, remembering the urging of Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:5-11) to: [H]ave among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus who..emptied himself.. Our elections are not about winning our argument or making sure that our agenda is pushed through but rather seeking those who will do their best for the country and letting go of our own egoic choices.
You may find my interpretations far-fetched and I would perhaps agree but the messages are clear to me this morning as I have stated them. We are called to take responsibility for the privilege of voting as informed citizens and to accept the result whether or not it is our desired outcome, having done our part to participate in the democratic process.