Pastoral Letter Regarding the 2016 Election

I sent the following letter to the members and friends of Apostles Anglican Church.

Dear Apostles Family,

I greet you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the same ‘yesterday, today, and forever’ (Hebrews 13.8). Our contentious presidential election is over. Political power has changed in the United States, but nothing has changed regarding God’s power and authority over all nations. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God first and forever; we are citizens of the United States during our sojourn to the new heaven and new earth.

As such, we are witnesses of God’s Kingdom in these crucial days of the American story. I’m thankful for the faithful witness of our Archbishop and Bishop, Foley Beach, who has written good and helpful words regarding the election. I hope you will read Archbishop Foley’s call to prayer by clicking on this link.

To be witnesses of God’s kingdom in America in these days means being people of love and kindness in a time of division. It was said of ancient Christians, ‘see how they love one another.’ Our fathers and mothers in faith not only loved one another well, they loved their enemies, following the commandment of Christ. Our ancestors in faith showed mercy and kindness to the poor, the broken, the marginalized. Let us live into our family name by practicing kindness toward our neighbors in these days.

I also pray we will deepen our commitment to love our neighbors as ourselves in these coming days. I hope you will consider how this election affects your neighbor. Some are pleased and relieved at this outcome; some are distraught and frightened by this outcome. Think of your friends and neighbors who voted differently from you as much as you interact with those who voted the same as you. It’s easy to love those friends and neighbors who agree with you. It takes the grace of Christ to love neighbors and friends who differ from you.

With some neighbors you will find agreement and comfort; the response of other neighbors and friends will perplex you. Consider the weight of your words in the days ahead. Listening is an act of kindness, and Scripture counsels believers to  be ‘quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger’ (James 1.19) Show kindness and respect to all your neighbors in the spirit of Christ. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God’ (Matthew 5.9).

Yesterday, I knelt in the Apostles’ Nave with brothers and sisters from our parish during our regular midweek service of Eucharist and Healing. As we entered into our Prayers for Healing, I prayed for healing in country with the saints gathered there. We prayed for President-Elect Donald Trump. We prayed that the Lord would ‘restore to wholeness whatever is broken by human sin, in our lives, in our nation, and in the world.’ And then we came to the Lord’s Table—together.

As we come to the Lord’s Table this Sunday, we will have a special station of healing prayer as you come to receive bread and wine. We will have two ministers available to anoint your hands and pray that you will be an instrument of God’s peace and healing in these days. You do not have to participate in this ministry if you do not wish to. Please pray about joining in this prayer ministry as you prepare for church this Sunday.

Regardless of how you’re experiencing the outcome of this election, I pray that we will continue to pray the Prayer of St. Francis (below). And we all need to hear the Lord’s invitation this Sunday, ‘Lift up your hearts!’ We need the gift of responding with one voice, ‘We lift them to the Lord!’ In these days and always, we need to say as one church the most important political statement of our lives, ‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.’

Peace,

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The Reverend Jack King, Rector

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.