After the Vote Rush (Wrestling the Partisan Angel)

Well, it’s all over but the shouting now.  The votes are (mostly) tallied, and the victor has been decided.  President Barack Obama has been re-elected, and will be our President for the next four years.

I’m dragging today, because I stayed up and watched the speeches last night.  Governor Romney was gracious in defeat, and seemed far warmer, more genuine, and more likable than he had during the campaign.  President Obama’s acceptance speech was Presidential, gracious, and even a little inspiring.

People predicted the apocalypse when President Obama was first elected. Others predicted a new post-racism, post-sexism utopia.  We got an Affordable Care Act modeled on Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts program, drone strikes against Pakistani and Yemeni civilians, no change on Gitmo, the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, continued surveillance, and slow-but-steady economic growth.

Competent, but surprisingly consistent with Bush, down to a similar disregard for civil liberties.

And despite the pundits’ alternate snarling and simpering, that’s what we’re likely to have for the next four years.  Some things will get better.  Some will get worse.  For the  most part, it will be more of the same.  America will survive, just like it would have under Romney.

So what is there to do now?  Only pray.  Pray for God’s guidance for President Obama and his family.  Pray for wisdom for all our elected officials of both parties.  Pray for our nation.  Pray that God will heal the divisiveness that turns us all to broken glass every four years.

Pray that we may be clearer, more compassionate, more insightful, more virtuous. Pray that we the people can model the virtues we want to see in Washington.

Pray for President Obama, whether you voted for him or not. And remember Romans 13:1-7. Pray for President Obama, whether you like or approve of the President’s policies (or abhor them), and remember that God loves him as much as he loves any of us.

Amen.

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Prayer For September 11

World Trade Center Memorial by Derek Jensen

Memorial by Derek Jensen, 2004

Father, in Heaven, Holy One,

As we remember that terrible day, we pray

Please bring your healing to all those who lost loved ones

On that day, in the battles that followed, and in the wars to come

Protect us here, and protect our soldiers abroad

Be our shield, our strength, our portion, our vision

That no more buildings may burn

That no more towers may fall.

Holy Father, give restraint and peace to my countrymen

So no more mosques or gyro joints will burn.

Give wisdom and grace to us, as Christians

So that we may say, “not my will, but yours be done,”

So that we can pray for violent hearts to turn,

So that we can pray for souls and lives to be won,

Lord, we pray for America and Americans.

Force us to our knees,

So that we can learn to pray

For Iraqi, Afghani, even for Taliban

Even as they seek to shed our blood.

Lord, give us strength to offer those prayers genuinely

For we know that saying prayers for our enemies is easy

But meaning them is hard.

Just as loving them is hard.

Yours is the power.

Yours is the glory.

Help us belong to your kingdom,

Forever and ever,

Amen.

Hurricane Prayer

Twisted Tree in a Storm

(Original Photograph, 2012 Tim Dedeaux)

As the storm comes: Abraham’s son, Jacob’s father, Isaac,

As the wind lifts, and the air hangs heavy,

Announcing its coming while it is still far away.

Father God, I won’t ask you to spare us from the storm.

That storm’s got to hit somewhere, and I won’t wish destruction on someone else.

I will ask that you calm the winds, as you did in Galilee so long ago,

But I know you may choose not to.

And in that case, I merely pray for your mercy:

May we be prepared,

May those in the most danger choose to evacuate,

May they find means, even if they don’t own cars,

May the shelters stand,

May the generator-fueled refrigerators keep the insulin cold,

That no life would be lost.

And in the aftermath,

As the sun shines across broken cities,

May our hands be extended

Not grasping as looters or closed as enemies

But open, as neighbors.

Amen.