October 14, 2020

Dear Church,

“What happens after Election Day?” a fellow pastor asked during a voting forum. “I understand Christians have differences in opinions but what do we do after Election Day?” He was visibly upset and frustrated with the way this panel articulated perspectives. This pastor reinforced his concerns by saying, “I have Republicans and Democrats in my congregation! I am sitting here trying to figure out how do we worship together after November 3rd?”

As we come to the end of this election cycle, at the Mass. Council of Churches, we are hearing from many Christians concerned about what happens after Election Day. We are concerned, too. The Church is called to be “the light of the world.” Many pastors serve congregations with various stakes in this election. There are people that view this November as a threat to their life and safety. Parishioners are sitting in pews or virtual chairs, in fears of losing homes, jobs, and businesses. Others think they may lose their health care, their right to have an abortion, or to marry a person of the same gender. There are Blacks churches that are fearful of just being Black in America, the trauma of viewing Blacks dying in real-time, and the disproportionate loss of loved ones in this current pandemic. Several minority church leaders have been dealt a blow from being attacked because of their Asian heritage or afraid to complete the Census in fear of ICE detaining members. This list is extensive, exhausting, and long. This list is hard and cold. It is clearly inhumane. Countless parishioners face these experiences daily.

 

I keep coming back to that pastor’s question, “How do we worship together after November 3,” regardless of the outcome of the election? How do we reconcile our communities of faith when there are seemingly overwhelming differences?  Leaders have to take the time to pray and seek God who reconciles all. I am meditating on the Greatest Commandment given to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is one of the most powerful action verbs. When we love one another, we’re able to get through tough and downright evil times. The power of love can draw people of opposing views together. 

The Church must remain, or become, an institution of love for the broken, bruised, and battered.

We all must choose love to bring people together and unite fractured sectors in our faith community. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left us with these words; “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” This is the hope and glimmer of light every Church leader can hold on to in these dark days.

 

In hope,

Rev. Kenneth

PS- We are particularly concerned about polarization, hatred, and fracture within the Church, and plan to keep sharing resources with you on this. We also want to share with you a more secular resource that some of the Episcopal Bishops have pointed us towards- a national campaign to depolarize political conversations called “Braver Angels.” Find more at BraverAngels.org

 

meagan

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