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An Election in a Country Not My Own: A Prayer

I write this the morning after an election in a country not my own.  

An election in a country not my own, and yet this moment feels fraught even for me.  So much depends on the votes counted, for those citizens casting votes and for those watching and listening elsewhere.

Hondurans huddled in cold valleys south of the Mexican border whose welcome is in part determined by the immigration policy of a country not my own.

Afghani children whose lives have been disrupted by a war dictated in part by the interests of a country not my own.

Black Canadians whose spirit of protest was enlivened this summer by the protests in a country not my own.

Bangladeshi farmers whose fields are at risk of flooding because of climate change – a process that requires courageous action by powerful nations.

South African grandmothers living with AIDS whose access to antiretroviral drugs depends in no small part on the foreign aid and pharmaceutical regulations of a country not my own.

A country not my own, in whose hands lies enormous power.

I wish that it were otherwise.  I wish that the world’s power was distributed more evenly, more equitably.  I wish that the global poor had the collective power to determine their own fates, to carve out spaces where they can flourish regardless of who is in power in their own country or elsewhere.  But I know that is not the world we live in, broken as it is.

Power is not distributed equitably.  That is true at the human level, and the global.  My lifestyle choices have an inordinate effect on an ailing planet – that is the burden of being a citizen in the global north.  Similarly, the decisions of powerful people and institutions in countries not my own – governments, corporations, media magnates - shape the futures of people the world over.  Recognizing that is part of the burden of citizenship in a powerful country.

I know all this.  But I know something else, too.  I know that the world’s principalities and powers are not ultimate or determinative in any final way.  Why?  Because I trust in a kingdom beyond my own imagining, ruled by a servant King who dispenses joy and beauty to the world’s darkest corners and hope in our most despairing moments, who promises a justice that will lift our world’s deepest valleys and bring our highest mountains low so that all may live lives worthy of their dignity as God’s image-bearers.

And so, on the morning after an election in a country not my own, I pray:

Christ whose life was a cup poured out for others, 
be present with those deciding the future of a country not my own.  
Remind them of the many whose lives feel the ripples of their decisions.  
Let them be especially mindful of those whose futures may hang in the balance: the poor, the exiled, the stranger.
Christ who took on flesh in a world shaped by armies and empires and rulers in far off places,
let those of us who live at the far edges of power trust in your upside-down, hidden reign.
May we be open to joy when those powers are mindful of the poor among us. 
May we be open to gratitude when those powers create space for everyone’s flourishing.
May we ignore those powers when they seek too much of our attention and so steal our energy from the neighbours whom we are called to love. 
Christ, we pray for all who are impacted after an election in a country not our own.
Grant us the peace that only you can give.  
Gift us with the energy of your life-giving Spirit so that we may love our neighbours and work for justice and pray for new creation.
We pray all this so that your weary world may see glimpses of your kingdom,
a kingdom not our own.   

Photo by Chris Karidis on Unsplash

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