As we round the corner into November, it is stunning—as always—to grasp the passage of time. November brings that unique day which, for people of faith, combines politics, outreach and stewardship: Election Day.
My husband and I recently finished watching the Ken Burns film The Roosevelts. It was stirring and educational and I found myself longing over and over that I could vote for any of them: Teddy, Franklin or Eleanor. Their words and their actions were an inspiration, after all these years, even though I have so little in common with them. But that was their genius, each of them: even the most common folk felt that TR, FDR and Eleanor knew them.
On the other hand, there is one thing I do share with all three Roosevelts, the Episcopal Church. Official Episcopal policy recognizes voting and political participation as acts of Christian stewardship. “A faithful commitment to political participation aligns with our Baptismal Covenant’s promise to ‘strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being, ‘” says the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations.
In the parish where I have served for just seven months, I have probably mentioned…oh…10,000 times that I am big fan of our Baptismal Covenant (see the Book of Common Prayer, p. 304.) I find it to be a roadmap for living faithfully in Christ. Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, says this about the Christian’s obligation to participate in the political process and in public discourse: “The New Testament tells us that we are to participate in the life of the polis, in the life of our society [and] the principle on which Christians must vote is the principle ‘Does this look like love of neighbor?'”
Wherever you live, the upcoming elections on November 7 matter more than ever. I urge you to vote. Vote as an act of faith, as an act of devotion to our nation and to our God. If you catch yourself wondering what difference your vote could possibly make, remember the miracle of the five loaves and two fish (one of those rare stories of Jesus which is found in all four gospels: Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6.)
Our wonderful democracy is not simply a static form of government, it is dynamic. The Word of God is dynamic and alive, and is always calling us to engage with what my friend Br. Curtis calls “the least, the last, and the lost.” Vote your faith. Vote your heart. Vote.
PS: If you need help knowing what’s going on, Google your state’s Department of Elections. Also let me recommend one of my favorite spiritual Internet resources, Spirituality & Practice, which has a new spiritual resource called The Practicing Democracy Project.