I am writing this the morning after one of the most divisive elections in the history of the United States. Some members of St. Timothy’s wake up this morning thrilled and relieved; some wake up discouraged and troubled.
At last night’s Election Eucharist, I found the psalm appointed for the service, Psalm 47, extraordinarily helpful. Most scholars believe that this psalm was used as part of an “enthronement” liturgy in the temple. God’s people would gather together to “re-enthrone” Yahweh as King: Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with a cry of joy/For the Lord Most High is to be feared; he is the king over all the earth (v.1-2). Yes, the people of God had an earthly ruler, one of the kings of the Davidic monarchy. But this liturgical gathering in the temple reminded them of the “king of all the earth” to whom their ultimate allegiance is due.
Although earthly rulers truly matter, whether that be a king, Prime Minister or President, and although elections have real consequences, the invitation of Psalm 47 last night was to remember that our ultimate allegiance is to God alone, regardless of the outcome of the election. Therefore, we wake up the day after the election once again called to give our obedience to the life-giving ways of God revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We wake up the day after the election called to keep loving our neighbors and enemies, showing hospitality to strangers, and working for a society that will care for and protect the most vulnerable. We wake up the day after the election continuing to pray and work for peace.
Given the divisive nature of this election, we also need to be especially attentive to mending relationships with other members of the church that may have suffered during the stress and strain of this election season. As I have reminded the members of St. Timothy’s many times over the years, Jesus never commands us to be right, he commands us to love one another. In an extraordinarily polarized time, our willingness to keep loving one another despite our differences is a powerful witness to the fact that our lives are governed by a God whose ways are not the ways of the world.
Let us pray for our country: For President Obama, President-elect Trump, all those elected to public office and all those who weren’t elected. And let us pray that the church will commit itself anew to the work God has given us to do.