so there is a good zeal which separates from vices and leads to God and to life everlasting. This zeal, therefore, the brothers should practice with the most fervent love. Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10); most patiently endure one another's infirmities, whether of body or of character; vie in paying obedience one to another -- no one following what he considers useful for himself, but rather what benefits another -- ; tender the charity of brotherhood chastely; fear God in love; love their Abbot with a sincere and humble charity; prefer nothing whatever to Christ. And may He bring us all together to life everlasting." - Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 72
I'm writing this entry during the evening of November 6th. It's Election Day. This, to put it mildly, has been a hard fought election. All too many angry voices have been heard in the media, and between people. Regrettably some of those angry words have been exchanged by people who follow Jesus. Because of those angry words between sisters and brothers in Christ, I was delighted to be invited to host one of the two election day communion services held in the community where I am currently serving.
To find out all about election day communion, feel free to check out the website http://electiondaycommunion.org/. In short its purpose is to remind Christians that while we owe allegiance to our country, our first and foremost allegiance belongs to God. I know that statement may anger some Christians, especially those whose memberships are in very conservative denominations. To those sisters and brothers I would point out that when conservative Christians demonstrate, peacefully I trust, at clinics where abortions are performed they quite often knowingly break the law. Their beliefs lead them to demonstrate, or block clinic entrances, despite laws to the contrary. Some other Christians feel it necessary to violate laws like the one against trespassing on the property of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, an institution located at Fort Benning Georgia, that was formerly called the School of the Americas. These Christians feel it is wrong to train other countries soldiers who often use that training to repress their country's citizens. I strongly agree with their view point. The actions of graduates of this school include rape, torture, and murder. Among the murders they have committed was the murder of Bishop Oscar Romero, the martyr whose name I bear in my Benedictine community.
In the Presbyterian Church (USA) the vows we take when we are confirmed, join a congregation, or are ordained to a particular office, are in the form of questions. The very first of those questions is "who is your Lord and Savior?" The answer is "Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior." I hope and pray that all Christians in this country remember that question and its answer in the aftermath of this election. Put away what Benedict the "evil zeal of bitterness," that seems to have overtaken us. Let us replace it with the "good zeal which separates from vices and leads to God and to life everlasting." Let us ". . . anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10); most patiently endure one another's infirmities, whether of body or of character; vie in paying obedience one to another -- no one following what he considers useful for himself, but rather what benefits another. . ." Let us ". . . prefer nothing whatever to Christ." And most importantly let us act toward each other in the way Jesus acts toward us.