Because I wanted to be cool like Nadia Bolz-Weber (just kidding―I’ll never be as cool as Nadia!) and write some blessings of my own. (Check out Nadia’s beautiful “Blessed are the Agnostics” piece here, if you like. It’s really lovely.)
These words are loosely inspired by the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), and much less loosely inspired by a bunch of different pieces of news I’ve seen recently that relate to this week’s election.
Election Week Blessing Blessed are those who stand and wait for hours in lines that wrap around buildings and stretch into the street. Blessed are those who take selfies at the ballot drop box and do a little dance. Blessed are the elderly whose bodies no longer move as they once did, but who are determined to make it to the polls. Blessed are those who receive death threats and vote anyway. Blessed are those who grit their teeth and vote for a candidate they did not choose and do not like. Blessed are those who staff the polls and count the ballots. Blessed are the postal workers. Blessed are the employers who give people the day off to go and vote. Blessed are the lawyers fighting legal battles for every vote to be counted. Blessed are those who refuse to manipulate statistics to make themselves look better, or to give false hope. Blessed are those not too consumed by hubris to admit when they have lost a contest. Blessed are those who march to the polls, stop and take a knee for eight minutes and forty six seconds, and are tear gassed by police. Blessed are the Black Lives Matter organizers. Blessed are those who hold vigil for lives taken violently before their time. Blessed are those still in the streets after a hundred and fifty days, who are desperate and will not stop knocking at the door of justice. Blessed are those whose blood boils and hearts sink at the sight of Austin police officers posing with Proud Boys for a photo. Blessed are those who have tried and failed to reform police departments. Blessed are those who feared for their lives on that Biden campaign bus, and those who felt sad and angry watching the video of the trucks surrounding it and trying to force it off the road. Blessed are the white people who consider themselves recovering racists, and who know the journey is a life-long one. Blessed are the immigrants maligned as murderers and rapists, called animals and hunted by a system that does not care about them. Blessed are those who tremble at the thought of the results of this election, because it might mean life or death for them or those they love. Blessed are those who live among a violent people, in a violent nation, and refuse to take up arms. Blessed are the pastors willing to preach justice and hold out for real shalom, though their congregants want to hear them say “peace, peace.” Blessed are the church leaders driven out of their jobs and their communities because they refuse to toe the Republican party line. Blessed are those less concerned with saving disembodied souls and more concerned with living in a way that values every whole and complex person. Blessed are those who sit in church pews and want to mourn the state of everything, while everyone around them smiles and claps their hands to upbeat praise songs. Blessed are the ones who know how to wail in lament. Blessed are those who still have hope, and those whose hope is gone. Blessed are those who have been gaslighted over and over again and now know how to resist it, and those who have not been able to resist. Blessed are those who are not afraid to look at all these hard things. Blessed are those who crave righteousness and truth and goodness more than power. Blessed are the poor, the mourners, the weak, the hungry and thirsty for justice, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the ones persecuted for their pursuit of justice. Blessed are you.