It is now impossible to miss the fact that another major election season has come fully into focus. (And, if you’ve been avoiding it, now is the time to make a voting plan! See below for resources to help you with that.) Like you, I am acutely aware of the fractious nature of this time in the life of our society and country. I feel the divisions deepening and widening between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ I hear the rhetoric of fear and doom used as tools to exacerbate those divisions, and I can occasionally feel a sense of helplessness in the face of it all.
This season is not easy, and it likely will not get easier in the coming months. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we will continue to experience deep division and discord, and those realities and anxieties will be real for every member of our faith communities. Which is why it is good news, my friends, that we serve a God of hope, a God of justice, a God who holds both the beginning and the end.
In the face of these challenges, I am asking three things from every member of ECMN:
I ask you to remember that though the earth be moved, and storms rage, God is faithful, and God is with us in all of it, and God calls each of us beloved. I hope you will remember that yourself, and frequently remind your fellow disciples of that fact, too.
I ask you to be bold in your proclamation and witness to the good news of Jesus in this moment. While the gospel is never partisan–it does not endorse one candidate or party platform–the gospel is always political, meaning it is always concerned with the way people are treated and resources are managed in the real world. This is not a time for us to be timid in announcing that Jesus is always present with those who are cast down and cast aside, that Jesus affirms and values the inherent worth and dignity of every human being, and that the Holy Spirit is always engaged in helping us embrace the outsider and the other. Our nation, and our world, need the gospel’s message of hope and love as much as they ever have.
And I ask you to join me in praying fervently — for peace, for justice, for love. Specifically, I hope all Minnesota Episcopalians will pray Noonday Prayer every Tuesday between now and election day, with special intention for healing and justice in our nation. You can use the form available here, or simply use the office as it appears in the Book of Common Prayer from wherever you are.
As we move together into this season, it is good for us to continue to put the reality of this good news in front of us. To be reminded that we are bound together, with Christ, as one body. That we are called to serve God, to love neighbor, to speak boldly as we are called by the Holy Spirit to do.
Paul tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians: “Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose hope.” Do not lose hope, beloved. In good times and hard times, in joy and sorrow, in or out of a pandemic, we are in the palm of God’s almighty, loving hands.
Keep the faith.
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
X Bishop, The Episcopal Church in Minnesota