November 10, 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

The results of Tuesday’s election have evoked responses as polarized as our nation itself: some are jubilant, others in despair. Some believe this is the beginning of a new world; others, that this is the beginning of the end.

The great danger for us all is that these opposing responses will not soften over time. Rather they could well multiply, becoming broader and deeper; as a nation we might see ourselves divided between those who have won and those who have lost. If we allow this to become true, our divisions will only harden, our speech become still less understandable to one another, our differing visions of America destroying any possibility of a shared hope and a better future as a united people.

In such an environment, the Church of God, the Body of Christ, has a unique and life-giving witness, namely this: in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ, and through His power, we have been called as ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20). It is time, and will be for years to come, for us to live out this calling in a few specific ways.

We are called to pray. I mean, first, pray for our nation and for our president-elect, that God will fill him with wisdom and prudence. Second, pray for and with those who are hurt and fearful at this time, asking God’s spirit to comfort them, and reminding them that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Third, pray for those whom we imagine to be our enemies, that God the Father may help us to see the face of Christ in them.

We are called to reach out. Find someone who does not think like you, or look like you, preferably someone you do not know, and offer your hand. Ask them to tell you their story, and listen. Then tell them yours. Finally, offer to pray with them, and make another date. Reconciliation happens one moment, one bridge, one life at a time.

We are called to seek God’s vision and act on it. The Church is intended to be nothing less than the vanguard of a new humanity, filled and sent by the Holy Spirit. What is God’s vision for the people of your neighborhood? What are the barriers of belief and race and class that God would have you reach across as part of His plan that His Kingdom come and His will be done on earth as in heaven? Where is the hopelessness in the lives of those around you, and how does Jesus want you to offer them His hope?

We do not know what the next four years will look like. We do know that our God is a God of peace. And in some measure, we know what He wants: that we lift up the fallen, bind up the broken, protect the weak, empower the poor, give voice to those who have no voice, speaking the truth in love before the rulers of this world, all in the name of God who in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself. 

For a hundred generations this has been our calling.

Let us claim it again today.

Faithfully your bishop,

(The Right Reverend) Dorsey W. M. McConnell, D.D.