After the election: Reclaiming God's promise in the morning light

November 9th, 2016

Few pundits or forecasts showed Donald Trump winning the election. But it happened. I didn't expect it to happen.

This morning, I am distraught for how Trump's election speaks to and feels for my black, Latino/a, Muslim and other brothers and sisters who, due to Trump's comments and announced intended policies, have great warrant for receiving his election as less than "welcome." My kids attend a Spanish immersion preschool, and much in Trump's rhetoric has made me feel the stark contrast between the way he speaks and the wonderful goodness of the diverse people enriching my children's lives.

I also feel for the circumstances of some of the people who voted for him. Some of Trump's white supporters were motivated by a sense of disenfranchisement and lack of economic opportunity. They are people who feel ignored and betrayed by both major political parties. J.D. Vance's book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis is, as many have noted, probably a very important book for the USA to read and think about.

But the main thing is this: with the morning light, the most important thing for us to do is remember God, remember God's promises and pray. Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson speaks of the "talkative" God of the Bible. God does indeed talk a lot, and makes wonderful and dependable promises in the Bible. What we're to do, then, is talk back: Pray responsively. Live responsively, trusting this talkative God.

Just as if Hillary Clinton had been elected, the people of God, with this morning's light, must resolve to trust in the LORD, not in princes. (Ps. 118:9) We take hope in God's promises.

The words that reminded me of this were from the Canticle of Zechariah. They were spoken by Zechariah when his people — God's people Israel — were oppressed, occupied by the Roman superpower, far from the glory days of their past, far from the good future God had promised them. Yet, listen to the start of Zechariah's song from Luke chapter 1:

"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free."

What a promise! God in Christ has come to set us free in a way that surpasses even oppressive political circumstances. God in Christ promises to do away, ultimately, with all oppression, all tears, and death itself.

This is the promise of the gospel. It is more than enough light to guide the people of God in faithfulness this day and every day.

Below is the version of the Canticle of Zechariah from It is good to pray it today, and good to pray it every day.

Gospel Canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Lord, you have raised up a mighty savior for us in your servant David’s house.

Bless the Lord God of Israel because he has come to help and has delivered his people. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house, just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago. He has brought salvation from our enemies and from the power of all those who hate us. He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and remembered his holy covenant, the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham. He has granted that we would be rescued from the power of our enemies so that we could serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes, for as long as we live. You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way. You will tell his people how to be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace.” (Luke 1:68-79 CEB)

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.

Lord, you have raised up a mighty savior for us in your servant David’s house

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