I have always exercised my right to vote. The first time I voted I had turned eighteen in September and was living in Switzerland. I was sent an absentee ballot and I voted. Honestly, I was out of the country and I didn’t know all the facts or who I should vote for, but I voted. I was not about to miss something I thought was important and part of being a “grown-up.”
I had lived with grandparents for five years when I was younger. My grandmother took her right and privilege to vote very seriously. She was born in 1896 and knew a time when she didn’t have that right. She knew people who did not believe women should or could vote responsibility (and my grandfather was probably one of them!)
It wasn’t until 1920 that she cast her first ballot. Both my grandparents were Republicans, my grandfather a very staunch Republican. Every election day he would ask my grandmother how she voted. And every election day she would say, “Bob, it is still a secret ballot.” I think he was convinced she went to the polls and canceled out his vote. Which would fit right into an understanding as to why “women shouldn’t vote!”
Not today, I was one of the early voters. There were people voting and while there was no “line” there was a steady stream.
I used to love the political process. I watched all the debates and read all the opinions. Now, I avoid the debates and the speeches, then read the transcripts the next day. I have grown weary of the deeply divisive rhetoric and the disrespect of the other side. I vote, because I believe too many people sacrificed too much for me to not participate in this privilege.
So, a week ago, I was send a reminder that on this election day, I was scheduled to give the invocation for the Wichita City Council. I am sure that when I signed up it did not dawn on me that today was election day. Usually I do not script prayers, but today, I believed it was important for me to be intentional about how I prayed on this day, for a group of elected officials who had a ballot initiative in front of the city.
So I end today’s post with the prayer I shared with the Wichita City Council as reminded that I am graced to serve:
Gracious God and Ruler of us All, we acknowledge all authority and power comes from you.
We can not thank you enough for the gift of all those who helped us along the way.
We thank you for the gift of this nation.
We know that we do not always do our part to keep our democracy healthly and free.
Guard all of our words from inflammatory rhetoric that produces much noise and heat but little light.
Cleanse us from hatefulness and bigotry that would have us pursue our own narrow viewpoint
over the good of the community as a whole.
Today particularly, we thank you for the right and privilege to vote.
Strengthen us that we may exercise our precious votes for what is good and wise and just.
On this day, bless these elected officials, our city council.
Help them discern what is good for Wichita.
Guide their discussions that their words
and actions might contribute to the well being of all
who live in this great city.
For it is in your holy and precious name we pray. Amen