"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”(John 13:34-35, Message Bible)
This is the time for Jesus' words to be remembered and acted upon by Christians. We are nearing the end of a vicious campaign season, with the most scathing vitriol being slung by and at our presidential candidates. The mudslinging will not end on November 8; no matter who is elected, a large number of citizens in our country will be disappointed and potentially angry. This election has broken up marriages and caused deep rifts in many families. You and I are not immune from the anxiety swirling in the air around us, but we do have instructions from our highest power that determine our behavior in this next week and beyond. Jesus tells us to remember that his disciples are fueled by love and called to love those around us - those with whom we agree and those with whom we most decidedly disagree. Easy enough for Jesus to say. He didn't have to endure the ugliness of a U.S. political campaign. True. What Jesus did endure was something far more significant than who we elect for president: Jesus died for our anger, our threats, our most base nastiness and he was raised so that love would be the most visible mark of his disciples.
So...in this next week, rage and wring your hands as much as you need to in the privacy of your home (I will be doing that, too). When you interact with others, treat them with respect and love, even if it is one of the hardest things you have ever done. VOTE! It is our privilege and responsibility to do so in our country. Give someone a ride to the polls. If you know someone who needs a ride to vote, let me know and we'll arrange a ride for them. Pray for our country. Remember that Jesus has a better way for us than hate and that his love will prevail over all our human sinfulness.
I offer these wise words from The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church: "Go and vote. Vote your conscience. Your conscience informed by what it means to love your neighbor. To participate in the process of seeking the common good. To participate in the process of making this a better world. However you vote, go and vote. And do that as a follower of Jesus."
Please keep David Bauerschmidt, father of Kamala Bauers in your prayers. He lives in Florida and is in poor health.
This week, I made some changes to the prayer list; I took some people off and added some. I think taking a person off the list is an act of thanksgiving to God for answering our prayers. If I inadvertently removed names that should remain on the list, please let me know and we will put them back on.
This coming Sunday, November 6, we will observe the festival of All Saints. In our worship, we will remember our loved ones who have died in the faith since last All Saints' Day. If you would like to have someone's name included in the bulletin for this service, please let me know by tomorrow.
"Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:31-32, NRSV)