Dear friends near and far,
Yesterday we had close to 1,600 community members lined up in and out of Rainbow Mennonite Church waiting to vote. Toward closing time at 7 pm, the remaining voters were taken to the Sanctuary where they wove in and out of the aisles. My husband and I were two of these 1,600 voters, as were some other Rainbow congregants. I was proud of the hospitality we at Rainbow offered our community. I especially loved seeing our Prayer for Peace, Act for Peace sign and the memory leaves displayed for all the voters to see. It was like we were being surrounded by the saints, our very own “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1)
“Who are Mennonites?” I heard a voter in line ask. “I think they are the ones who help when there are storms and stuff,” said another. Others commented on how “spiffy” our church seemed.
Less than 24 hours later, I’m sensing that a lot of people, myself included, feel a little tossed and turned from political storms of all kinds. I’m not feeling very spiffy right now, and I wonder if I, or we as Mennonites, have much to offer when it comes to political storms.
I can’t and I won’t assume to know how various ones of you are feeling about the election results from yesterday. I do imagine that, however we voted, we’re all feeling drained and maybe a little sick. At the very least, we’re all feeling uncertain and all too aware of these divided states we live in.
I want to believe, as Disciples of Christ pastor Sarah Klaassen writes, that “Our faith is deep and wide and carries a wisdom that we can trust even as our trust and hope in other things is shaken.” Sarah goes on to remind us that “we have another narrative that shapes us, a story of liberation, justice, peace, risk-taking resistance against forces of separation and hopelessness….Our calling is the same as yesterday as we follow Jesus today: a calling to tune our hearts to the experiences of the most vulnerable: black lives, queer lives, latinx lives, Muslim lives, people who are poor and disabled. A calling to trust and to love even in the midst of fear.
“Some of us,” Sarah continues “have already found the resolve to hope and work. Some of us need to sit in this moment longer, in our feelings and our pain. Either way…we share a collective sigh with one another, because we are a church together, and we are not alone.”
In that spirit, I invite those of us who are feeling storm-battered to gather tonight at Rainbow for prayer. Bob Carlson will help to lead a time of prayer, singing, and candle lighting tonight in the Sanctuary from 5:30-6:00 pm. Then at 6 pm, everyone is invited to join a Prayer to Heal the Nation post-election conference call. It will feature 40 prominent interfaith leadership who will each offer a prayer for the healing of our country. This conference call is free of charge, and not just for clergy. Everyone is welcome to participate. To join, just dial (202) 478-8089. You can read more about this phone prayer conference here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-prayer-to-heal-the-nation-tickets-29200181529
And then let us carry on, trusting in and enacting the narrative of liberation and peace, as best as we can.