Tuesday, November 8, 2022

A Prayer for Election Day


We belong
first and foremost
to you, Lord.
God of heaven and earth,
eternity and the moment,
ever and always.

Then we belong to the whole of creation;
the living, the dead,
the yet to become, and the reborn,
the ongoing cycle of earth and life
with its glorious array of ever-expanding participants:
mountains and trees and oceans and valleys,
gazelles and robins and rivers and earthworms,

Next we belong to the human family,
all humanity in every corner of the vast globe,
all languages, creeds, cultures, skin tones, religions, beliefs, experiences, 
hopes, celebrations, losses, goals, 
vocations, technologies and connections,
in grief and wonder and anger and happiness and confusion and sadness and joy.
Whatever happens, and no matter what,
we belong to them all, all, all.
And they all
belong to us.

After this we are grouped - 
some arbitrarily and some by choice - 
into land masses and geographic regions.
We develop identifying accents, clothing preferences and regional tastebuds
which is to say,
we gather our experiences into ourselves
alongside others
who are gathering into themselves experiences
alongside us.

We call our places of belonging towns, counties, villages and cities,
tribes, nations, countries, continents and coalitions;
these countless designations simply mean that
we live nearby
and agree to certain codes of living with one another
that, in one way or another, uphold our greater belonging - 
to the whole human family,
the living and the dead of all creation,
and the Lord of all.

Next we have the smaller groups in which we learn
and the people there who teach us,
the neighbors, musicians, coaches and collaborators,
the members of our faith, our teams, our clans.
We have hobbies we cultivate with people who practice them alongside us,
passions we pursue and those whom they impact,
jobs we end up in and those who end up there too,
whose lives intertwine with our own.

And then there are those specific people from whom we come,
the ones whose being and belonging
shape our own being and belonging most directly,
I mean, of course,
our ancestors and grandparents,
aunts and uncles, cousins and kin,
parents and siblings.
We may have the partner with whom we share our life,
and the children whom we shape and watch become,
and the pets we assemble into our homes,
and the gardens we tend,
and the friendships we cultivate,
and the places we grow our roots,
deep, strong and sure,
with and for those to whom we give our hearts,
who will one day be buried in the ground alongside everyone and everything else,
to which we already and always belong.

So on this day when our Democracy is Verbed,
and we exercise our right and responsibility to participate together
in shaping the future of our shared home,
we give thanks for all the belongings that hold us,
both created and innate.

We give thanks for the communities into which we pour our lives,
and for all those in our communities that pour their lives into us.
We give thanks for the earth that nurtures all life,
and all those who nurture the earth.

On this day that shapes our nation,
in our collective belonging called The United States of America
we give thanks for all that is good and wise and kind,
all that upholds our humanity,
both individual and shared.
Thank you, God.

And in our collective belonging called The United States of America
we confess all that is evil, foolish and divisive,
all that damages our soul,
both individual and shared.
Forgive us, Lord.

And when this day of national weighing in
has come to an end
and whatever comes next 
it remains
that beyond country, beyond kin,
beyond borders and beliefs,
beyond any and all boundaries,
whether natural or unnatural,
is the Great Belonging,
that is,
to one another, all,
and to you, Lord of all.

For this, today,
we give thanks.


- Kara Root, A Prayer for Election Day

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