Well, it is finally here. Election Day 2020. The day we have been anticipating for months, if not longer. In the past few days texts and conversations with friends here and across the country have been uniformly the same. “I’m so nervous! Are you as anxious as I am?” The anxiety is almost palpable as we wait to see what tonight, and the coming days, will hold.
Four years ago the results of the election led me to join the Women’s March on Washington the day after the inauguration, along with almost a million marchers in DC and millions more on every continent across the globe. Sitting in the airport on Inauguration Day, I wrote about why it was important to me to participate in this movement. Here’s what I said.
Two years ago I was privileged to participate in the National Park Service’s retracing of the Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of that historic event. For five days we walked on holy ground — from Brown’s Chapel in Selma; across the Edmund Pettus Bridge; down the long, lonely stretch of Highway 80; and finally to the steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. The Holy Spirit was a palpable presence among us as for 54 miles we followed the steps of those brave foot soldiers and martyrs of 50 years ago.
Every day our leader, Ranger Tim Sinclair, a man of deep faith, knowledge, and integrity, asked us a question: ‘What is your Selma?’ What grabs hold of you and demands that you fight for justice? What is it that you are willing to stand up for against the forces of evil? What is your ultimate concern and passion?
What is my Selma? Until November 8, 2016, I really wasn’t sure. But that day clarified things for me, and suddenly I knew the answer.
My Selma is to be a Christian in the age of Trump — to follow the example of a God who cares first and foremost about the most vulnerable in society, who has no patience with bigotry of any kind, who breaks down walls of hate and exclusion, who stands up to evil, who respects and fights for the dignity of all people.
And because I am a priest it especially means to have the courage to speak the often difficult truth of the Gospel, even when those who listen or read may be offended by my words.
That is always a Christian’s call, of course, but there is a greater urgency now as the forces of evil gain strength and power.
Last night I got out my marching shoes, the ones that carried me down the long desolate road from Selma to Montgomery. This weekend they will carry me down the streets of power in Washington DC to send a message to the new resident of the White House.
We are here. We are watching. We will resist.
This is my Selma. This is why I march.
Four years and many marches, sermons, and emails later these words still ring true for me. I hope those forces of evil will soon begin to wane. But I know that whoever occupies the White House, the need to speak out and demonstrate for justice will always be there. And so I continue to pray for the courage to follow the Gospel.
Here is the prayer for Election Day:
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of a president and representatives; that by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The service for tonight’s Eucharist (at 8) with special prayers for the nation is attached.
And here is the link to RSVP for Sunday’s in-person worship in the Beech Grove.