A bad cold kept us from church Sunday. For my solo at-home service, I punched up a hymn channel on Pandora. It was sublime - briefly - until political ads interrupted. That was so wrong! Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing contrasted severely with warring US Senate candidates. And my mind wandered to politics - a very dark place to be on the Sabbath. Fortunately, I was rescued by the Book of Common Prayer. What a blessing! Paging through the Collects and the Prayers and Thanksgivings, I was uplifted by the BCP's benign overlap of church and state. I'm not a church historian, but this language dates to the late 1700s. True to name and purpose, the Prayer Book helped me to pray:
Lord...of this planet, of this nation,
I lament the seething anger of this election cycle. It's the nastiest campaign of my lifetime. I regret the suspicion of immigrants and refugees (in a nation formed by "aliens.")
Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance...
...fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues...
(Prayers for National Life, For our Country)
I confess my own smugness, the self-assuredness of my political views, my misplaced faith in politicians with feet of clay.
...bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth.
...teach our people to rely on your strength and to accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for the well-being of our society...
(Prayers for National Life, For Sound Government)
I despair over the conflicts of class, the division of demographics. Elites (am I in that catergory?) scheme to maintain privilege while too many fear insecurity of food, housing, healthcare, work and neighborhood...in the richest nation on earth. The political foment is understandable.
(Prayers for the Social Order, For Social Justice)
I love my country. And certain candidates and issues have my allegiance. But let me never forget - first and foremost - I belong to You.
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials 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.
(Prayers for National Life, For an Election)