The news has been tumultuous this week. I’m not going to stand on a political soap box and talk about who I voted for or what I think of the final results. In my opinion, the election is over and it is time to look forward.
The problem is that as I look forward I see so many people who suddenly feel emboldened to speak with hate. They have forgotten that a difference of opinion is okay but hatred is not. I could argue that a difference of opinion peacefully, passionately shared is part of what makes America great. It requires respect for your fellow humans to have that sort of difference. Without respect that difference becomes divisive. And that’s sad and frightening.
I am the leader of my church’s youth ministry. I feel privileged to walk alongside these teens as they forge a path on their individual faith journey. Young adults who sometimes feel like salmon swimming upstream. They have made their faith a priority in a world that doesn’t always agree. And since they are teenagers, it’s a world where they are sometimes ridiculed for it. And that’s sad and frightening too.
Which makes me think… is it a coincidence that as people in our country move away from religion, we have come to this place of bitter divisiveness? A place where people think it’s acceptable to call someone names or become physically violent to state their case?
I’m going to lead a discussion about the election at my high school ministry night next week. As I’ve prepared my thoughts I learned that as part of the Jewish service, they say a prayer for America. From what I’ve read, most temples say the prayer weekly. It’s a beautiful prayer and one that I’m going to start saying as well. My favorite part is in bold.
Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country — for its government, for its leaders and advisers, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights from Your Word that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.
Creator of all flesh, bless all the inhabitants of our country with Your spirit. May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country.
May this land, under Your providence be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom — helping them to fulfill the vision of Your prophet: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war any more.”
I will now focus on keeping my corner of the world peaceful and calm. Of raising good people who treat others with compassion and respect diversity of all sorts. It’s the one thing I have control over as the world swirls around me.