Two thoughts dominate my mind as I write these words to you.
First, tomorrow, November 8, is Election Day. This nation will choose a new President. We have endured what has seemed like an interminable and brutally contentious presidential election campaign. As we prepare to go to the polls on Tuesday, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul's words to Timothy, which we read in our Lectionary a while ago (September 18):
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity."
[1 Timothy 2:1-2]
I intentionally put the words "all who are in high positions" in capital letters and bold print. And after tomorrow, I would encourage us to keep these words uppermost in our minds - pray for all who are in high positions.
Paul urges us to pray for ALL who hold political office, those in the party we support and those whose politics we don't like. Whether you voted for them or not, they are the people who are charged with the task of leading this country for the next term, whether two, four, or six years.
Being a leader involves making decisions. It doesn't matter what course of action is decided upon, what law is passed, there will always be those who will disagree and criticize loudly that the politician is incompetent. Leaders need our prayers. They need the help and support of God as they attempt to do what is right and preserve the peace and safety of everyone in your local community, in this country, and in the world.
So instead of sitting back and criticizing them, or trashing their policies or decisions; let us pray for them. We may not always agree with them, but we can still take them to God in our prayers. I invite you to ask God to give our leaders wisdom and understanding to act in a way that will bring peace. Let us ask God to guide them, strengthen them, and give them the integrity and resolve to do what is best, not only for the United States, but for the world.
We can only imagine the
responsibility that rests on their shoulders.
My second thought is somewhat related in that on Wednesday, November 9, I leave for Guatemala for eight days as part of an "International Observation Mission of Human Rights on the Guatemala - Mexico Border".
It is an honor for me to be asked to serve on this network of organizations of religious and social service institutions, as well as interested individuals, that are involved in this initiative, out of concern for the grave situation of the systematic violation of human rights that besets migrants and refugees in the territories and communities in the Mexico-Guatemala border.
The objective of the mission is first and foremost, to create greater awareness of these conditions and advocate for the many who are affected by these human rights abuses. This is more than a political issue; it is a moral issue.
The ELCA is involved because we are committed to a strategy called AMMPARO, an acronym for Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities. It was developed after witnessing the plight of children who have been forced to flee their communities to escape conditions of chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement and lack of opportunities in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Our church has relationships with companion synods in these countries. Thus, we sense God's call to us to help safeguard these vulnerable children.
I solicit your prayers for all involved in this mission. Blessings and peace to you this week and always.
+Bishop Abraham Allende