Psalm 133.1
How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!

Reflection: Good and Pleasant Unity? A Prayer for Election Week
By John Tillman

In such a divisive and cynical time, words like “unity” raise eyebrows, hackles, and suspicion. Talking about unity is almost universally seen as a political power grab and talking of civility is seen as capitulation.

The psalmist makes no promise about governments living in unity. Even among God’s people, unity is described as “good” and “pleasant,” implying that it is not automatic or constant.

As the US approaches midterm elections, the rancor and rhetoric of 2016, rather than relaxing, has ramped up, raising political tensions, accusations, and attacks.

Record numbers of voter registrations and early voting numbers, indicate that the hopes of many are at stake in this election season. But as scripture repeats often, and so do we, our hope is not in chariots or horses, in kings or in princes.

Good and Pleasant Unity?

Oh God, lead us…

I led them with cords of human kindness,
with ties of love.

But despite your love and care, we turn from you
when we turn away from “the least of these” your children.

My people are determined to turn from me.
Even though they call me God Most High…

Even though we call you, “Lord, Lord,”
We push down the hungry, thirsty, and naked.
We ignore the sick.
We turn away the foreigner.
We treat the prisoner heartlessly.

How good and pleasant it is
when God’s people live together in unity!

Is unity possible for selfish, angry hearts such as ours?

Jesus looked at them and said,
“With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.

My heart is changed within me;
all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger…
For I am God, and not a man—
the Holy One among you.
I will not come against their cities.
They will follow the Lord

Change our hearts, Lord.
Arouse our compassion.
Help us abandon anger.
Lead us to be for our cities, not against them.
May we be united in humility, in confession, and in service to those around us.
Let them know that we are Christians by our love.

Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; let the whole earth tremble before him. — Psalm 96.9

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Hosea 11 (Listen – 1:53)
Psalm 132-134 (Listen – 2:42)

Additional Reading
Read More about Compelled Toward Community
God has forged with us and in us a new community of faith. Belonging to this community carries a responsibility to be accountable to each other.

Read More about The Language of a Good Neighbor
May we abstain from the language of political leaders intending to seek and destroy.
May we embrace the language of Christ intent on seeking and saving that which is lost.

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