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Theological Thursday: Election Day Communion?

Election Day Communion, a national movement of Christian Churches to reaffirm their unity in light of a bitterly contested presidential campaign, is coming to Buffalo at the Loretto Ministry Center, next Tuesday, election day.

What started with
a single church service four years ago has grown into a grassroots movement of
churches from nearly every state. So far, more than 425 congregations have
chosen to participate in Election Day Communion, with more being added every
day.

 “Election Day
Communion is an opportunity for Christians from all political backgrounds to
reaffirm their first allegiance to Christ,” says pastor and co-organizer Mark
Schloneger. On Election Day four years ago, Schloneger hosted a communion
service at his own church, which sparked the idea of a organizing a nationwide
event for this year’s election.

 “During the day
on November 6, we’ll make different choices for different reasons,” said
Schloneger. “But that night, thousands of us will make the same choice
together. We’ll gather as one body to remember that our chief passion belongs
not to any party or candidate but to God.”

“Election Day
Communion is one of the most desperately needed ideas I’ve seen in a long
time,” says Greg Boyd, pastor of Woodland Hills and author of The Myth of a
Christian Nation (Zondervan, 2007). “At a time when the church in America has
been coopted by power-brokers, I can’t imagine a more powerful way to remind
ourselves that our call is to follow in the footsteps of a King who laid down
his life for his enemies.”

Churches are
continuing to sign up in the final two weeks before the election. Over 20
denominations are represented, suggesting that Election Day Communion’s appeal
transcends theological boundaries.

“The political
issues that divide us aren’t insignificant,” says Kevin Gasser, another
co-organizer and pastor of Staunton Mennonite Church (Virginia). “But there’s
something more important than presidential elections. There’s something that
matters more than our political differences.”

Though this movement won’t heal all divides (I am keenly aware that many if not most of the readers of this blog are not Christian), I plan on joining this event after I cast my vote next Tuesday.  For me, it is about remembering that no matter what candidate wins, I have a loyalty that not only transcends party, but also country.  Elections are very important, but sometimes we allow our political excitement get in the way of our core convictions.

If communion isn’t your thing, I would encourage you to find your own way to touch something greater.  Give yourself in service, eat dinner with friends and family, or simply take time to look at the night sky.  Either way, somebody is going to win next week, and about half of us are going to be angry.  I see this (and other similar events) as one way to re-connect increasingly divided people.

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