According to a Harris Poll, 52 percent of Americans are dealing with a high level of stress related to the election (Talking to Your Therapist about Election Anxiety- NYT Oct 20). This ugly election is fraying friendships, eroding empathy amid differences, and dissolving longstanding decency boundaries. With fewer friends, strained empathy, and muddied boundaries we drop tools we need to mend our frayed social fabric. The means we employ are the ends in the making (“The Case Against Tokenism” MLK). Attacking others does not make us feel more secure. Real-world defriending does not nestle us within community. Failing to listen only deepens isolation. Ugly speech hides beauty.
What is the source of healing? Matthew 4:23 tells us “Jesus went about proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom and healing.” Jesus is our hope for healing, ground of our being, guide for our behavior, and our salvation. Our next president will not establish the Kingdom of God. Apps, email, and instant notices won’t calm our anxious souls. Our clubs, hobbies, and teams will not win the victory that overcomes the world. When tempted by political power and worldly splendor, Jesus prescribes “worship the Lord our God, and serve God alone!” (Matthew 4:10). Worship brings healing. Worship calls our souls up out of the mire! Let us worship and pray together. Here is a little guiding prayer acrostic for these anxious days.
Providence. Let us place our trust in the protective care of Christ, who said “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28)
Repent. Let us acknowledge and amend our sinful ways. “If you cease sinning, pointing fingers, speaking evil; if you feed the hungry and care for the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday for the Lord will guide you.” (Isaiah 58)
All of Us. Like Jesus, “Let each of us look not to our own interests, but to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Community and freedom require tolerance of others’ views. Pray for everyone!
Yield. Let us offer ourselves to the hard work of healing a divided, broken world. “Jesus went about proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom and healing” (Matthew 4:23). Let us build God’s Kingdom of wholeness, peace, justice and love!