Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post-Election-Day Liturgy

Several of us dragged ourselves to Morning Prayer today, despite the late night election results. Minnesota managed to elect its first female senator and the nation's first Muslim congressman. While the Democrats clearly took the House, the Senate remains a bit up in the air with a couple of races still extraordinarily close in Virginia and Montana. The nation's despair over the President's bellicosity and seeming inability to deal with both the reality on the ground in Iraq and the continuing loss of security and economic power by the lower middle-class, seems apparent to most of us.

Yet, as Christians, we must be very careful not to put our primary allegiance in any party or candidate. It was refreshing this morning to begin Morning Prayer with the familiar hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy," followed by the Psalmist's proclamation, "The heavens are telling the glory of God!" The liturgy has this tremendous capacity to bring us back into contact with our primary allegiance: to God alone. This is but one reason why much of the pablum that passes for worship in American Evangelicalism is so bothersome. There is a sad irony that the wing of the Christian faith that is so often preoccupied with issues of theological authority has become so captive to the whims of the popular culture. The pronoun "I" is front and center stage in much of the praise music which is so ubiquitous.

Perhaps, given the toxic culture of American politics (both right and left), we need the "sameness" of the liturgy today more than ever. There is a tendency to get swept up in whatever the issue of the day is and to forget that there is but one faith, one Lord, one baptism. It is the baptismal waters that provide for us our primary sense of identity as a people--not the ballot box. So, while we remain thankful for the rights of citizenship, we remain even more cognizant of our primary calling as a people who dare to stand over against a culture which remains self-absorbed and committed to politics and economics as the ultimate source of reality.