A Letter to My Congregation on Election Day
Perhaps none of us needs a reminder of the importance of today’s Election Day–not to mention the accompanying issues, conversations, and implications around our vote. Allow me, then, to hold before us the importance of prayer in this national moment.
In our worship services we’ve been mining our Old Testament lectionary readings for “Glimpses of Shalom.” Jeremiah 29 encourages ones in exile to “Seek the shalom” of their city, which includes praying for the shalom of the city:
Also, seek the peace (shalom) and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
I wanted to suggest some features of shalom that could become prayer points to guide our intercessions for our cities and country, today and in the coming days and weeks. This is what the Hebrew Bible calls the people and land to when it speaks of shalom:
- relational wholeness
- selfless giving
- “the totality of human flourishing” (Eldin Villafañe)
- truth-seeking and truth-telling
- peace, especially in a community setting
- “the state of flourishing in all dimensions of one’s existence” (Nicholas Wolterstorff)
- justice: God’s will done on earth as in heaven
- connectedness across lines of difference
- righteousness (Isaiah 32:17 says, “The product of righteousness will be shalom“)
- “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight” (Cornelius Plantinga)
- the Lord’s favor
- grace for ourselves and others
Let’s pray that where shalom exists, it would deepen. Let’s pray that where there is no shalom, God would bring it into being–even through our prayers and efforts!
“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world” (Karl Barth).
Praying with you for God’s shalom,