I had the privilege of leading a communion service on Election Night 2016 (November 8). I learned about this idea through reading Slow Church back in 2014. The idea stayed with me, so when I was brought on full-time at Mountain Life Church, I asked if I could organize a service for our people. Election Night Communion Services have spread to include many churches: on this website, there were over 300 churches across the nation participating (there is also a Facebook page with more information).
The idea of behind the service is rooted in understanding that as we approach the Lord’s Table, part of what we are doing is remembering that we are one body because we partake in one loaf (1 Corinthians 10:17). Christ’s broken body and shed blood have destroyed the walls that divide us as people; therefore, our duty as brothers and sisters is to remind ourselves of this profound and difficult truth, and to live from this, instead of the divisive and corrosive nature of politics.
The service was beautiful, reflective, and not rushed. Robert Bartko, the worship pastor at Mountain Life, and I led our people to remember that God is sovereign and we are called to display God’s love to a very hurting, divided world. (Here is the order of service.
I must confess: it was easy to remember God’s sovereignty on Tuesday night; since Wednesday morning, I have struggled a lot more. While I will pray that President-elect Trump will lead this nation well, I found his rhetoric to be incredibly hateful at times. As a white, middle-class, Evangelical male, I don’t have much to worry about, but the question I, and all of us as Christians, must ask ourselves is this: Can we truly hear the fear, worry, and anxiety of the minorities that Trump at times seemed to target during his candidacy?
We, as the church, not only need to hear their fear and worry, but also then stand and work with them to speak out against racism and strive toward reconciliation. My Life Group has been studying the biblical book of James currently. James writes, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).
For James, looking after the orphans and widows (or you could say any marginalized people in society) is more than simply wishing them well. A little later in James, he writes, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:15-17).
The Evangelical church must lead the way in the days, months, and years to come to speak and continuously speak out against racism and speak for the marginalized of our neighborhoods. But it cannot be “Whites to the rescue.” We must listen in humility to their honest, true and very real fears, working alongside them to see the flourishing of all peoples.
The way forward for the church is not seeking power and prestige, but to once again listen and discern Jesus’ words: “You know that the ruler of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).
May this passage be so of me and all of us.