For Election Day Communion

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

Election Day Communion is a national movement of Christians who want to declare our allegiance to Christ over and above our allegiance to a particular political party–or even a particular nation. When I last checked the Election Day Communion website, there were 835 groups who had signed up as participants in this event.

That means that on election night, there will be tens of thousands of Christians gathering together around the Lord’s Table. Tens of thousands of Christians who will share the bread and the cup as brothers and sisters–despite political differences. Tens of thousands of voices raised to heaven praying, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”

There will be tens of thousands of Christians across the country remembering together, entering together into the story of what happened with Jesus and his disciples on the night that Jesus was betrayed.

This is the story we are choosing–the story we tell at the Lord’s Table.

For months now politicians, unions, corporations, Facebook friends, have been trying to get us to participate in their stories. So many different stories; all wanting our buy-in–our agreement, our money, our vote.

Stories of a successfully recovering economy and stories of failed economic policies.

Stories of family values and stories of civil rights.

Stories of the war on women and stories of the evils of abortion.

Stories of care for the vulnerable and stories of entitlement programs.

Stories of environmental responsibility and stories of the need for job creation.

We’ve heard so many stories. And we hear them all in the context of our own unique life stories. The stories we live affect the stories we believe. And my guess is that, if you vote, the stories you believe play a big role in who you vote for.

It is fine to go to the voting booth. But it is more important to come to the Table. Our presence at the Table bears witness to the fact that whatever social, political, moral, economic stories we might believe, this is the central story for our lives. This is the Story by which all other stories are measured. This story of God’s deep love for us in creation, in covenant, and ultimately, in Jesus Christ.  This story that proclaims Good News, freedom, healing. This story that proclaims a love stronger than hate, a life bigger than ourselves, a power stronger than death.

It is this story of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ that claims our allegiance. Now and always. Amen.

Weekly Worship Piece: Call to Worship–Power

One of the beautiful aspects of our congregation is that people besides me preach on a fairly regular basis. This coming Sunday the intelligent and thoughtful Joe Casad will continue our worship series on Jesus’ disciples by focusing on the crowd.  Have you ever noticed how much “the crowd” shows up as a character in the Gospels?

I haven’t heard Joe’s sermon yet, but I do know that he will be exploring issues of power–who has it, how they have it, and what they do with it. The crowd seems to control the “powerful” (Pilate, high priests) in ways that it does not control Jesus. (This is interesting stuff!  You should definitely make the trip to Peace Mennonite for Joe’s sermon🙂

So, in light of the sermon topic and feeling overwhelmed by the political climate right now, I have written this call to worship:

Leader: We need a break from the power-obsessed crowds.
Side 1: Who can speak the loudest?
Side 2: Who can debate the smartest?
Side 1: Who gets the most tweets?
Side 2: Who gets the most hits?
Side 1: Who has the most money?
Side 2: Who has the most weapons?
Leader: These crowds that push and pull and chant and yell.
Side 1: These crowds that cause fear.
Side 2: These crowds that are afraid.
Leader: We are part of these crowds
All: And we need to step away.
Side 1: To rest here, with God, the One who is truly powerful.
Side 2: To listen here, to Jesus, who will teach us the power of the cross.
Leader: We need to rest. To listen. To breathe.
All: May it be so. Today. Amen


Prayer for a Presidential Election Year

God of justice and compassion,
God of Republicans and Democrats and Independents,
God of the poor and the 1% and the middle class,
in the heat of this election year
we pray for our nation, our churches, and ourselves.
In the midst of meanness and deception,
may our words be kind and true.
In the midst of loud speeches and harsh accusations,
may we listen well and try to understand.
May those who follow Jesus do the work of Jesus–
breaking down the dividing walls
speaking the truth in love
meeting together in the face of disagreements.
Holy, loving God,
have mercy on your children.

*You can read my article about this on the Huffington Post. And a sermon here.