This year I walked into the voting booth and cast my ballot just the same as I have each time that I’ve had the privilege of participating in our process of democracy, but with one difference.
I can recall every election I’ve ever voted in, not just presidential, but every single one. Each time I voted with confidence and certainty. I was informed. I had made my decision, and thus I cast my ballot in that direction with clarity and peace of mind that I had made the best choice I could make.
That was not the case this time. Like many of us during this election season, I lacked certainty, and it wasn’t with a steady hand that voted, but with a trembling one. Not out of fear, but out of a deep awareness that we need God’s mercy to rest on our nation and our people. As I write this – the day before election Tuesday – there has been no announcement of a winner or no concession speech. By the time you read this, we will have elected a new POTUS and along with that, almost half of our country will be in mourning over their “teams” loss, and the other in jubilation over their victory.
Either way, America will still lack a sense of unity and the divisiveness that we’ve seen throughout this election cycle from all directions will not have faded quietly back into its hole, but will be present for those who desire to engage it.
As I stood in my voting booth I couldn’t help but notice how they had each booth separated so that I couldn’t see how the person next to me was voting. I understand why, and I appreciate the privacy as well, but it gave me pause for a moment.
It seemed, in that moment, that those dividers were a type and shadow of how the political atmosphere seems to create a vacuum of division that we can easily get sucked into. If we’ll let it, we can succumb to some of the nastiest peer pressure, bullying, and outright hatred because of our deeply held political views.
“The voting booth divides us. The communion table unites us.” – Brian Zahnd
There is peace found at the table of communion. Whether it’s the table of the Eucharist or a table shared between friends for the purpose of building community. Unlike the voting booth the table brings an offering of unity with no walls of division. It is a place where nothing is hidden, but everything is in the open and seen by all who join in.
The table is a place where we can sit beside each other and share in life’s blessings, join hand in hand Whether through prayer or celebration. At the table, we can feast or merely survive. We can argue or agree. We can celebrate or mourn. No matter the situation life finds us in, it is at the table of communion with each other and with Christ that we can find hope, love, and peace.
If you’ve found yourself worn down or weary from the ills of politics and the chaos that has surrounded this season, then I invite you today my friends, into a new season. I invite to change your minds and recalibrate your thinking.
I invite you to step away from whatever it is in your heart and mind that is separating you from the relationships that are right in front of you. Move away from those dividers that are keeping you from engaging in a life that’s full of hope, love, trust, and joy.
I invite you to step out of your booth and come to the table of communion.