Elections

Reflecting on a change of leadership: This is not about a difference of political opinion, as that’s far too small to mourn over. It’s about a fundamental difference in how we view the worth of all people—not just those who look or talk or think or vote the way we do.
(source: John Pavlovitz)

Counting the cost
How do we do what’s right, Jesus,
when it costs us so much to follow you?
How do our leaders do what’s right, Jesus,
for the weak and marginalised,
for people beyond our borders,
when the cost could be to forfeit their opportunity to lead?
How do our corporations do what’s right, Jesus,
for our suffering planet,
for the rights and needs of the poor,
when the cost could be to lose investors,
and sacrifice the lives of their own workers?
How do our protectors do what’s right, Jesus,
for the broken and desperate,
for our allies and enemies,
when the cost could be to face the attacks
of those they seek to defend?
We need to learn how to do what’s right, Jesus,
our world needs us to learn it;
we need to count the cost of your call,
and measure it against the abundant life you promise.
Help us, in our own small way, to be those who do the right thing,
and in so doing, demonstrate the goodness
that following you brings to all. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

A Blessing for the Politically Despondent.
by Joel McKerrow

There shall come a time,
When the way we hope it could be feels so very far away.
When the system shows itself for what it is.
When the politicians spend more time bitching than leading,
stabbing backs than backing those who truly need their support.

When the truth seems too hard to decipher through the lies.
When the ballot paper seems…empty of good choices.
When it doesn’t seem to even matter
which party is in power,
for they shall all wield the same.

When we are told we have the power to change our society
and yet out voting
feels like it means nothing. An appeasement of the masses
more than a piece of societal changing history.

There shall come a time,
and in that time
and in that sense of frustration
and despondency
and the draw towards apathy,
may you find a higher something to hold onto.

Something above political ideals.
Something above the hollow notion of failed political promise.
Something to remind you.
Something to instil hope within you.

May you take the discouragement
and find courage somewhere within it.
The courage to believe that
regardless of politics,
regardless of our leaders pandering to powerful people,
regardless of our faltered political ideals,
that there is still a way to change the world around us.
And it begins with you. And it begins with me.
And it is more than just numbering boxes on ballot paper.

For I have met the real ones. The ones who give themselves again and again to the bettering of our world. I have seen their dirty fingernails, their tired eyes, their patient sitting beside, the way they look you in the eye, the way they listen, the way they teach our high schools, the way they fight for the homeless, the way they resist the rat-race trappings of the western dream, the way they sew seeds into the community, the way they bring people together from all sides of every spectrum, the people who deserve to be politicians. And indeed some of them are.

I have seen those who refuse to give in to the disappointment,
who choose to look around them and say,
“This is what I can do. Here. Now. This is what I can do regardless.”

So may that be you. May that be me. And maybe politics wont even matter if we all chose to live like this. So lets keep voting till we get there, regardless of how empty it can feel, lets not trick ourselves into thinking this will change things even if we do nothing else. Lets keep doing more in the everydayness of our lives. I have met the real ones and what strikes me about every one of them is this…they are just normal people who choose to do something. And isn’t it always a small group of normal people making decisions like this that bring about the change we so desire.

So when the time comes may you be one of these…a real person. Doing real things to bring about real change. Even if it is just to those around you.

By the Streams of Babylon
DIX 7.7.7.7.7.7 (“For the Beauty of the Earth”)

By the streams of Babylon we sit weeping bitter tears.
Here so many hopes are gone; now we’re filled with countless fears.
Yet, O God, you tell us: “Rise! See the world through faith-filled eyes!”

We will rise and seek your way, knowing love will one day win.
We won’t let fear rule the day; we will welcome strangers in.
Every day, we’ll seek and find countless ways to be more kind.

By your grace, we’ll rise above even in this troubled hour.
Where there’s hate, we’ll choose to love; we will speak your truth to power.
With the poor and refugee we will build community.

We will pray for those who lead even as we take a stand.
We will rise with those in need, seeking justice in the land.
We will learn and listen well from the truth that others tell.

We will rise and work for peace; we will treasure your good earth.
We will march, that wars may cease; we’ll see every person’s worth.
God, now give us faith-filled lives as we heed your call and rise.

Biblical References: Psalm 137:1; Joshua 24:15; Ephesians 1:17-18; Deuteronomy 10:19; Hebrews 13:1; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Psalm 34:14; Micah 6:8
Tune: Conard Kocher, 1838, Abr. William Henry Monk, 1861, Harm. The English Hymnal, 1906
Text: Copyright © 2016 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com

by-the-streams-of-babylon-cgw.

A parishioner said he had a challenge for me, to write a prayer that he could honestly pray for Trump. This is what I just wrote to him:
I immediately thought of Madeleine L’Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time and many other books. She was a devout Episcopalian. In one of her non-fiction books she writes about the challenge of praying for her enemies. Someone had done her great harm and she really struggled with how to pray honestly for him. Finally, she decided that the best she could do was, “God, bless the bastard.” It’s a refreshingly honest prayer, but probably not what you had in mind.
I heard Obama tell Trump that he would be rooting for Trump’s success, and even though I know what he meant, I recoiled. Because really, I don’t want him to be successful when it comes to policies that are going to harm the most vulnerable among us, not to mention our relationships with other countries, and our planet. So I can’t bring myself to pray for his success. But how about this:”Gracious God, we pray for your child Donald as he takes on the responsibility of leading our country. May he be led to do what is right in your eyes, and bring us closer to the dream you have for this nation to be a place of justice and love for all your children. May we have the grace to see that he, too, is created in your image. Amen.
(Source: Facebook, Rev. Patricia Templeton, Rector, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta)

Prayerful Wisdom
Christ who thinks,
May we not seduced by:
People who tickle our fears,
Stroke our egos,
Fire up our anger,
Hijack our biases,
Pander to our prejudices,
Lower our standards,
Close our minds,
And exploit our weaknesses.
Help us to have:
Strength of Character,
Strength of purpose,
Strength of faith,
Strength of love,
Open minds,
Caring hearts,
As well as the discipline to let go ,
And follow you,
Into the counter-intuitive way of the cross. So may it be.
Amen
(Source: Jon Humphries)

A prayer in the context of USA elections...
recognising this election is about a President, The Senate and Congress, State and local body authorities, too…
Grant oh God,
through the results of this election,
Your justice, wisdom, compassion,
mercy and goodness
for all – citizens and non-citizens;
Peace for the world and wholeness for all creation;
for freedoms to be accountable for our responsibilities
to You and to our Nation States;
For imagination to see and commit to a third way,
the way of the Cross.
And for courage in all people’s,
whatever the election results,
to persist to seek the good of the other,
to care for the stranger,
to uplift the downtrodden,
to attend to and accompany
the least, last and lost.
In Your time, in Your love, in Your grace…
in the redeeming faith of Christ
and through the power of Your sustaining Spirit.
So be it.
(Source: John Emmett)

God, may this time of anger be over;
May we grow past our current divide.
Make us as one, as sisters and brothers;
In this good land, may your love abide.
(Source: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette)

We pray for those in government,
at local and national level,
that they might use the power
granted to them wisely
and for the common good;
building a society that is both
compassionate and inclusive,
where people are no longer faces
but start to become neighbours,
and towns become communities
caring and supporting one another.
©John Birch, faithandworship.com

Diane Butler Bass, on the 2016 US Elections
Credo, A Litany of Grace
I believe God creates the world and all therein good, even very good, no matter how far from that goodness human beings wander;
I believe Love casts out fear, and that living with compassion is the path to joy;
I believe Gratitude threads all of the connections in the web of life;
I believe Wisdom dwells among us, embodying both divine insight and human intellect;
I believe Hope banishes cynicism, always drawing us toward a creative future;
I believe Awe opens us to an awakened life that reaches out to the world to restore and save;
I believe Justice flows all around us, like a healing river;
I believe All Shall Be Well.

(written for 2016 US election, but can easily be adapted for other contexts)
“Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11: 1-13),” the disciples made a request of Jesus. Jesus’ response, of course, was part of the Lord’s Prayer that we pray in worship, as we gather in small groups, and as we individually say our daily prayers. As the time of election approaches in the United States, I find myself making the same request, “Lord, teach me to pray.” Longing for clarity in decision and grounded in hope, I find myself praying for justice for all, for love and reconciliation, for leaders who might see the cracks in broken systems and work toward repair, for peace and prosperity:
Our God who art in heaven, guide us as we vote and elect leaders for our country, our states, and our local communities. Grant us patience when there are lines, wisdom in navigating ballots, and discernment when choosing candidates. May faith, hope, and love guide all we do. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God whose name is most holy, we pray for those who will serve as election judges and polling place volunteers on election day. Give them the strength and compassion they require to see in every citizen a beloved neighbor. In your holy and loving provision, keep all voters and officials safe on election day. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God who reigns over all, on earth and in heaven, we pray for those running for public office and for all who will be elected. May they be surrounded by supportive friends and families as they celebrate or concede. May their successes or losses be coupled by a greater sense of service to their constituents and to the global community of all your children. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Holy Spirit, give us our daily bread and help us provide for those in need. Looking past election day, we pray for our country and the communities in which we live. Keep us safe. Help us love. Guide us in walking together to best love you, to love our neighbors, and to serve those in need. In Jesus’ name, amen.
(source: Rev. Dr. Kelly K. Faulstich)

A benediction
May you remember that all politics and all platforms and all legalities and all borders and all leaders are temporary.
May you recall that political movements and boundaries and personalities and programs are here one day and gone the next. All of these are passing away.
May you resist the temptation to place ultimate trust in any person, policy, party, movement, or nation — even a beautiful idea that is embodied by a nation — because there is no nation with an eternal foundation.
May you know that your kingdom is not of this world but of the world that is coming to this world and that is not yet here.
May you in the same breath grasp that engagement with the things of this world — not escape from its harsher, darker realities — is the sacrificial pattern of Jesus Christ.
May you discover your role in the just and merciful governance of the world God made good and pursue that cosmos-converting vocation with love amid the world’s brokenness and grittiness.
May you see your work in the world — all of your callings and activities — as a participation in bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth.
May you have strength and beauty and determination and wisdom as you love your neighbor and your enemy as Christ has loved you, seeking with all persons to bring justice, mercy, and lasting peace.
May you comprehend that your salvation is not dependent on whom you vote for in an election, or in whether you vote; that you are under no biblical or theological or moral obligation to vote for a person or party or proposal or initiative if that vote violates your conscience.
May you have empathy for the political decisions of others that you find troubling — particularly those of family and close friends. May you have ears to hear what lies at the heart of their political concerns, and eyes to see the noble but imperfect search for goodness that is motivating their choice, especially if you strongly disagree with the candidate, party, or politics they support.
May you be grateful for the opportunity to participate in your government, and if you choose not to participate in the election may you find ways to make that non-participation more than a protest. May you act to help and protect the poor, oppressed, and defenseless who might have been helped or shielded by your vote.
May you realize that the kingdom of God is within you and that the Son of God sets you free even as you vote for whomever your conscience dictates, without anxiety or fear, for the Spirit the Father gives us does not make us timid, but bestows on us power, love, and self-discipline.
May your posture toward every human leader be driven by respectful prayer, and where protest, prophecy, and nonviolent resistance are needed, may you have the courage to speak, oppose, and critique — in humility and charity — their ideas and actions that oppose Christ and his kingdom.
May God grant you grace to affirm the humanity — the image of God — in every political candidate and leader, and civility to impartially and energetically embrace any pursuit of genuine human flourishing they propose.
May you perceive God’s love for creation in sending Jesus to embody a New Humanity, and may you join in Christ’s care for the earth and all its creatures and resources, for we await with patience not only the coming of the Son in the flesh but his perfect bride, a people who beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.
May you trust that Providence is working behind the scenes of history to draw all things to a good and fitting and proper end with justice and mercy. Amen.
(Source: Kenneth Tanner)

Democracy (for USA) by Leonard Cohen (music and lyrics)
It’s coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It’s coming from the feel
that this ain’t exactly real,
or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don’t pretend to understand at all.
It’s coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin’
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It’s coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we’ll be making love again.
We’ll be going down so deep
the river’s going to weep,
and the mountain’s going to shout Amen!
It’s coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on …

I’m sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can’t stand the scene.
And I’m neither left or right
I’m just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I’m junk but I’m still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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