An election is not a popularity contest between two or more people where you choose who you like better. An election is a contest of ideas and values about how to shape the future of a community, nation and even world. Voting is an act of moral discernment deciding the values that will shape our common life together. John Lewis wrote right before his death, “The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent that you have in a democratic society.”
Voting is an expression of faith and an act of love.
Leaders exercise power in corrupt ways because leadership was never meant to be about power. Leadership is about service.
Jesus said the greatest among us are those willing to be the servant, not just of some, but servant of all.
The privilege of voting for followers of Jesus is not who best serves your interests but who will best serve the common good. Who will best shape public policy that will help us love our neighbors? Who will best shape public policy that will help us feed the hungry, care for the sick and welcome the stranger? Who will best shape public policy that will best help us care for the least of these? Who will best help us love our enemies and heal what divides us? Who will best shape public policy that will help us care for God’s Holy Earth?
Voting is an expression of our faith. Voting, above all, is an act of love.
May we love wisely and well.
(Rev Steve Koski, Bend Presbyterian Church)

‘We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate’. (Thomas Jefferson)

‘Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it’. (Susan B. Anthony)

We must keep turning toward the light. The shadowy world around us can easily beguile us to look away. To take our eyes off what is valuable. To stare into the abyss. But the smoke and mirrors world of power politics is always just an illusion. So much of it is posturing for the crowd. The core value is that we maintain our diversity, our democracy, and our decency. They are the essence of the light to which we are by faith committed. They are our birthright and our future. From their common ground a community can grow and a legacy become established. We must keep turning toward the light. Darkness never wins, unless we look away. (Source: Steven Charleston, Facebook post)

(this prayer by Rev. Dr. Marilyn Pagán-Banks was written in the context of the northern hemisphere equinox September 2020 and in the lead up to the U.S. elections)
As the seasons change we continue to wait, to hope, to imagine,
to trust and to believe in you, Oh God
We believe that there is a time for every season
and we’re getting ready and we’re doing the work
and we’re building the relationships
and we’re refusing to move in a spirit of “business as usual”
and we no longer long for “back to normal”
A change is coming
A change must come
We are the change agents for this time
As the days get shorter and some parts of the world get colder we pray for the fiery presence of your Holy Spirit to warm our hearts and inspire our will
We pray that the coldness and ugliness of racism, police violence, xenophobia, transphobia, anti-Blackness and misogyny all around us, within us, dries up and like brittle chaff blows away into nothingness
A change is coming
A change must come
We are the change agents for this time
Help us to move with power and grace, clarity and determination, joy and brilliance, promise and purpose.
A change is coming
A change must come
We are the change agents for this time
May it be so. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Dr. Marilyn Pagán-Banks, posted on revgalblogpals blogsite)

(U.S. context where voting is not compulsory) “Voting is irrational.” This jarring statement comes from Paul Woodruff, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin, in his wise book, Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue (2002). It’s disturbing, but it might get at the heart of the problem of low voter participation.
How can our elected officials claim any kind of meaningful mandate from the people, given the abysmally low voter turnout? Dozens of proposals are currently being considered to raise participation, but most suggested fixes are predicated on the assumption that voters are motivated to participate by a calculus of cold self-interest.
“Voting is a ceremony,” writes Woodruff. “It is an expression of reverence – not for our government or our laws, not for anything man-made, but for the very idea that ordinary people are more important than the juggernauts that seem to rule them.” The likelihood that any one person’s vote would decide an election is miniscule. People don’t vote because they think their ballot will decide the outcome. They do so because it is a ritual that is meaningful for them.
I’m what the county registrar calls a “permanent absentee voter”. I miss the convivial ritual of standing in line with my fellow citizens at the polling station, but the demands of my job make it hard for me to be sure I can get there on time. So I have developed a ceremony of my own. As I put my completed ballot in the mailbox, I raise my hand to my forehead and repeat these words: “I salute all Americans who risked their lives defending my sacred right and duty to vote.” I imagine the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the signing of the Constitution. I picture the joy of the slaves upon learning of their emancipation. I imagine the joy of women when they won their long fight for suffrage. I imagine soldiers celebrating the end of World War II. I imagine civil rights activists registering voters under threat from the KKK. I dream of Martin Luther King saying “I have a dream!” at the march on Washington. For a moment, I’m part of something bigger than myself. I join a long line of devoted people who have cast their ballots and their lives for our country. I don’t vote for me. I vote my love for my fellow citizens.
Before the election of 2012, the state of Florida enacted a number of policies aimed at suppressing the vote. Some districts cut back on the number of polling stations. Many black people in Florida woke up to the fact that there was an active effort to disenfranchise them. They turned out in record numbers to stand in line for many hours at polling stations, and then turned the occasion into a celebration. As the lines inched along, they sang and danced and chanted. It became a lively ritual expressing their deeply held belief in freedom and democracy. They valued voting more than ever, because of its difficulty.
In many long-time democratic nations, voter turnout is dropping. People have lost faith not only in government, but also in corporations and churches and temples. It’s a vicious cycle. We vote for politicians who don’t or can’t deliver, we lose faith in the institutions they run badly, and then we are de-motivated to vote at all. How can we get back our votivation, without having to resort to the reverse psychology of voter suppression?
I believe it starts with the heart. We have to reach deep, below our frustration with the functioning or non-functioning of our government. We have to re-awaken to the raw, real reason we vote at all: to express, ritually, our love for each other and for our country.
In my days serving churches as a pastor, I became acutely aware that the quality of a ritual makes a big difference in people’s willingness to participate in it. So let us craft new, emotionally potent ritual elements around the act of filling out our ballots. It may sound corny, but as a matter of fact, when I salute my ballot, my eyes well up with tears. Tears that flow from the heart that moves my hand to mark my ballot and put it in the mail – at every election.
(Source: Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California, published on Patheos. jimburklo.com, tcpc.blogs.com/musings, twitter: @jtburklo)

A prayer from Common Grace
God of love, mercy, justice and compassion. Thank you for the privilege we have to take part in public debate and a democratic process. We admit that it is easy to get used to methods of political discussion which don’t reflect your heart. Jesus, you came to bring us life and teach us how to love. Help us to live out these values in our politics and elect those who best reflect your heart, values and vision for our society. In Jesus’ name, Amen
(Source: Common Grace)

Election Hymn
If we claim to love our neighbour
while the hungry queue for food,
are we prey to self deception?
Is perception quite so crude?
If we sit beside our neighbours,
begging for the things they need,
we might share their own injustice
in a world that thrives on greed.

If we punish those with nothing,
blaming them for where they stand,
is this love of friend or neighbour,
do we still not understand?
Love of neighbour is not easy,
cuts us till we feel the pain,
sharing hurt that they are feeling
till they find new life again.

Love of neighbour sets us squarely
in the place where they now sit,
till the richness God has given
builds a pearl around the grit;
till each person shares the comfort
of the love of which we preach,
till we live as fact the Gospel:
none can be beyond love’s reach.
(Words: Andrew Pratt 28/3/2015. Please include on your CCL return)
Metre Tune: BETHANY (Smart) or NETTLETON

On the Prime Minister going to church
(Australian context)
I don’t much care how a Prime Minister worships or even what faith, if any, they profess.
I do care that they are committed to full equality and inclusion and that they prioritise giving opportunity to those who are vulnerable over maintaining the many advantages of the already wealthy.
I do care that the challenges of trans kids are as important to our Prime Minister as the struggles their own kids go through, that they don’t intentionally weaponise difference – whether race, gender, sexuality or faith – for political gain, that they have a plan to rescue our environment from human exploitation and that they believe in science more than the status quo.
I do care that they see refugees and people seeking asylum as human beings and don’t use cruelty as a measure of their strength or wisdom. I care that they see investment in public schools and hospitals as more than something you need to keep the voters happy – I want them to see it them as an investment in the people that constitute our society and ensuring equality of opportunity for everyone.
I care that they believe workers deserve a living wage, secure jobs and safe workplaces – and the power to ensure their employer provides this. I care that they have a real plan to address homelessness, fix the broken mental health system, end family and domestic violence and ensure no Australian lives in poverty.
So raise your hands, kneel on the floor, pray five times a day or think all religion is bunk – just be a person who first stands in solidarity with the marginalised, oppressed and excluded, who believes the economy exists to serve people and not the other way around and recognise that every person in your country and beyond is just as worthy of justice, opportunity, full inclusion in society, safety, peace and prosperity as you are.
And I reckon all that might be more attractive to voters than any fear campaign too.
(Source: Brad Chilcott, Facebook post, Easter 2019)

7 Practices for hearing and responding to the margins (especially in the elections!) by Graham Hill, Morling College (originally published 2017)
“God’s mission is from the margins. Jesus was a Galilean Jew. He didn’t just care for the margins: He was from the margins himself. If the church’s mission, ministry, and message are to reflect the way that God places the margins at the center of his love and concern, then the church must see the margins as not merely being incidental to the whole. We don’t merely get a helpful perspective from the margins – God often speaks to us from there. So, how do we listen to the margins? How do we listen even if we can’t immediately see how the concerns of the margins affect us personally? And how do we do this during an election period? (very thoughtful article)

God, who in Jesus,
broke down all barriers,
between people of different races
rich and poor,
male and female,
Jew and Gentile,
between heaven and earth,
we worship you.
God, we pray for our leaders:
that they will lead wisely;
that they will listen attentively;
that they will exercise grace;
and that they will know peace
in their deliberations.
God, at this time of uncertainty,
within our nations and communities,
we pray for ourselves:
that we will remain open to the stranger;
welcoming to the neighbour;
and committed to those who struggle.
God, we pray for your church of which we are a part:
that we might be a place of honest reflection;
respectful dialogue;
open friendship;
humility and reconciliation.
We pray that
we might be a community that points to heaven,
and shows ways in which heaven is glimpsed on earth.
God, who in Jesus,
breaks down all barriers,
between people of different races
rich and poor,
male and female,
Jew and Gentile,
between heaven and earth,
we worship you.
(Source: Rev Dr Martin Johnstone, Secretary to the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland. Adapted from a prayer written for the Brexit vote in January 2019)

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)

Prayer for the Election (U.S.A.)
God of justice and compassion,
God of Republicans and Democrats and Independents,
God of the poor and the 1% and the middle class,
in the heat of this election year
we pray for our nation, our churches, and ourselves.
In the midst of meanness and deception,
may our words be kind and true.
In the midst of loud speeches and harsh accusations,
may we listen well and try to understand.
May those who follow Jesus do the work of Jesus –
breaking down the dividing walls
speaking the truth in love
meeting together in the face of disagreements.
Holy, loving God, have mercy on your children.
(Source: Joanna Harader, Spacious Faith)

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.

Closing Prayer for Election Time
God, source of all truth and wisdom,
who knows and loves the whole creation,
watch over our nation at election time:
that truth may prevail over distortion,
wisdom triumph over recklessness
and the concerns of every person be heard.
Lord Jesus,
who chose the way of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane,
help us to turn our backs on self interest
and to support policies that sustain the poor, the vulnerable,
and the frightened people of this world.
Holy Spirit,
who brought understanding among myriad peoples and languages at Pentecost,
give to all your people a passion for peace
and inspire us to work for unity and co-operation throughout the world
and in our political life together.
Lord, we give thanks for the privileges and responsibilities
of living in a democratic society.
Give us wisdom to play our part at election time
that, through the exercise of each vote,
your Kingdom may come closer.
Protect us from the sins of despair and cynicism,
guard us against the idols of false utopias
and strengthen us to make politics a noble calling
that serves the common good of all.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord.
(Source: Box Hill Baptist Church, Melbourne, Unboxed Worship)

In Times of Great Decision
AURELIA D (“The Church’s One Foundation”)
In times of great decision, be with us, God, we pray!
Give each of us a vision of Jesus’ loving way.
When louder words seem endless and other voices sure,
Remind us of your promise: your love and truth endure.

O God, whose gifts are countless, you send us bearing peace.
You fill our dreams with justice for all communities.
You give us global neighbors, that all may justly live.
May those we choose as leaders reflect the life you give.

O God, you bridged the distance; you opened wide your door.
You call us by our presence to reach to serve the poor.
You teach us: Welcome strangers! Seek justice on the earth!
May those we choose as leaders see every person’s worth.

You call on every nation to put aside all greed,
To care for your creation and for your ones in need,
To care for those in prison, for children, for the ill.
In times of great decision, may we choose leaders well.

Alternate tune: LLANGLOFFAN, Traditional Welsh melody
Text:  © 2004 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Upper Room Books, 2009).
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com/

By the Streams of Babylon
DIX (“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-cgwA 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.
(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 peoples,
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)

Resources from ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)

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). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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