Choose Wisely: An Election Year Anamnesis

Choose Wisely.

This election year anamnesis comes to us via a “campaign” originated by Mennonite pastors encouraging congregations to celebrate communion on election day.  Of course, as Catholics, we already celebrate communion every day as our one great hope of unity, the place where our Lord really and sacramentally meets us, a living reality much bigger than all of us, the holy mystery that miraculously holds us together.  All the more reason to call to mind, especially on the day when (for those of us who are U.S. citizens) our political divisions will manifest themselves most directly, that we “meet at the same table, with the same host, to remember the same things:”

  • to remember that real power in this world — the power to save, to transform, to change – ultimately rests not in political parties or presidents or protests but in the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus;

  • to remember that, through the Holy Spirit, this power dwells within otherwise ordinary people who as one body continue the mission of Jesus: preaching good news to the poor, freeing the captives, giving sight to the blind, releasing the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:16-21).

  • to remember that freedom — true freedom — is given by God and is indeed not free; it comes with a cost and it looks like a cross;

  • to remember our sin and need to repent;

  • to remember that the only Christian nation in this world is the Church, the holy nation that crosses all human-made boundaries and borders;

  • to remember that our passions are best placed within the passion of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2);

  • to remember that we are not to conform to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2);

  • to remember that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness;

  • and to re-member the body of Christ as the body of Christ, confessing the ways in which partisan politics has separated us from God and each other.

    This year on November 6th, in order to be reminded of these things, I intend to be particularly conscientious about going to Mass alongside my brothers and sisters, some of whom will be making different choices than I will, yet all of whom have a share in the body and blood of our Lord.

About Julia Smucker
  • http://gravatar.com/bluelawscribe Mike R

    What a great idea. I think I’ll join you at Mass that day, even though we’ll probably be in different cities.

  • brian Volck

    Thank you, Julia. I would say more, but there’s no need. This reminder is sufficient.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=756600456 Ron Chandonia

    Thank you for your presence on Vox Nova.

  • http://electiondaycommunion.org mark_s

    Thanks so much for this, Julia. I love your words right at the beginning of your post: “As Catholics, we already celebrate communion every day as our one great hope of unity, the place where our Lord really and sacramentally meets us, a living reality much bigger than all of us, the holy mystery that miraculously holds us together. All the more reason to call to mind, especially on the day when (for those of us who are U.S. citizens) our political divisions will manifest themselves most directly, that we ‘meet at the same table, with the same host, to remember the same things:’” Beautifully written. Could I use them on the Election Day Communion website?

    Peace to you. Mark

    • Julia Smucker

      You are welcome to use my words on your site, Mark; indeed I’d be honored. Thanks to you as well for this stirring reminder of our true belonging as members of the Body of Christ and of one another.

      • http://electiondaycommunion.org mark_s

        Thanks, friend.

  • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com digbydolben

    Well, Julia, while I am 100% in agreement with everything you said, I think that you and your Catholic cohorts who live in the United States ought to know this, and I guess only someone semi-permanently expatriated can tell it to you: one of the ways of determining who or what is the OPPONENT of all the sentiments you express is by gauging the amount of HATRED which is propounded by one or other of the political players, and you and the rest of your American friends ought to hear–and hear clearly–that those of us who are served mainly by the foreign press are not hearing nearly so much hatred spewed by one side as by the other, and that “other” is registering itself loudly and clearly, outside the United States as “exceptionalist,” as xenophobic, as suspicious and apprehensive, almost to the level of derangement, of the “non-Christian” religions, of more socially democratic economic policies, of anything that’s not “traditionally American.”

    The somewhat pro-American students of my international school in Mumbai attend Model United Nations conferences all over the world, and mainly in Europe, and they report that the level of revulsion against the United States among high school students at those conferences is phenomenal and, according to the teachers who have been accompanying students to these conferences for a decade, unprecedented. The other day, one of my students sent me a link to THIS:

    http://youtu.be/TepdEvqV8lw

    • Julia Smucker

      Are you suggesting that if I lived outside of the US (which I have, by the way), I would not be encouraging Christian charity among those who disagree politically?

      You’ve picked out a very egregious example of xenophobia for us all to react to, but he still bears the inviolable dignity of the imago Dei, even if he won’t recognize it in others. He doesn’t sound Catholic, but if I had to share a Eucharistic table with him (as I do with Joe Biden and Paul Ryan), that would probably be good for both of us.

      • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com digbydolben

        Are you suggesting that if I lived outside of the US (which I have, by the way), I would not be encouraging Christian charity among those who disagree politically?

        Not at all, but I AM suggesting that you’d be living among an awful lot of people who believe that your “sharing Christian charity” with the “unjust” would constitute a betrayal of THEIR religion. And, frankly, I don’t think this example is “egregious” at all. MY experience of living in America tells me that it’s quite typical.

        • Julia Smucker

          So we should only remain in communion with those who pass some litmus test of moral purity in their political views? With the historical baggage I have from my Anabaptist background, this sounds a bit too familiar – and undoubtedly fragmentary.

          As for the typicality of extremism, I guess it depends on what circles you’re swimming in. As Christians we should all share the common value and goal of justice for all; can you accept the fact of being in communion with those who differ on what policies best contribute to this?

  • http://gravatar.com/glenmichael glenmichael

    So true, so incisive. Thanks for this Julia.

  • kurt

    As is my longstanding custom, I will go to Mass on election day. I don’t think I nor my neighbors will have too many difficult decisions as we DC residents are denied the democratic rights most other Americans have. To those of you fully enfranchished, please choose wisely.

  • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com digbydolben

    we should only remain in communion with those who pass some litmus test of moral purity in their political views?

    First of all, Julia, I don’t honestly believe that “justice for all” IS a very high priority for “Christians” whose views of morality are affected by significant theological heresies. Those heresies, in America, have profoundly affected many, if not most Americans’s ideas of what “justice” actually is. Secondly, even though I concede that I should TRY to remain in “communion” with those Christians whose “Christian morality” differs from mine, experience has taught me that it’s well-nigh to impossible: those “Christians” whose video I just showed you DO NOT WANT to be in “communion” with you or me. What do you want to do, FORCE them to dialogue with you?
    You may have lived all over the world, just as I have, but it’s pretty obvious you haven’t lived in the Bible Belt of the American South–which now extends all across the “Republican Red Belt”–and you obviously don’t have much of an appreciation of how little those Protestants esteem your or my traditional faiths. The Anabaptists are not the “Southern Baptists.”

    • Julia Smucker

      Digby, I’m afraid you may be right about priorities, and I do personally struggle to accept as fellow Christians those who deprioritize things that I strongly believe are at the heart of the Gospel.

      No, I’m not about to try to force anyone into dialogue, but if someone whose sentiments may be closer to that radio ad than I am comfortable with – or, for that matter, someone who is as horrified by the ad as I am but who may cancel me out at the polls for other reasons – shows up to Mass, then I do need to accept that I am in communion with that person, otherwise my reception of the Eucharist would be dishonest. That was my point.

  • Pingback: Choose Wisely; Remember Well (Ekklesia Project) « Election Day Communion()

  • Julia Smucker

    Along the same lines, Timothy O’Malley’s “Eucharistic Critique of the American Presidential Elections” is an excellent reminder to “let the Eucharist itself be the center of our political formation,” remembering where our true hope is.