The Canadian Federal election is completed, but it is no less a time to persist and not lose heart for greater justice in all forms in our nation and world.
Like many Canadians, I watched the results of Monday’s election with great interest. Following forty days of campaigning we have elected a minority government to serve Canada. With clear regional divisions, I pray that we will work together toward greater unity for the common good of all. We may be glad the election is over. But I give thanks for the opportunity to participate in free and fair elections in a democratic nation, and for every individual willing to stand for election, for those elected to serve, and for everyone who participated in the election. There were promises made about many concerns. And issues raised and not raised that will require continuing persistence to see the realization of greater justice, compassion, equity, and fairness in Canada and the world.
In the Christian scriptures there is an account of Jesus telling a parable about “the need to pray always and not to lose heart.” ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.”’ (Luke 18:2-5 NRSV) This strange story offers an example and inspiration, of a seemingly powerless woman persisting against an indifferent power, until she receives justice.
An election is an example of persistence, positive and negative, much of it to influence our vote. And much of what happens in elections and government can tempt us to be cynical and lose heart. But what if like the woman in Jesus’ story, we persist in work and prayer for justice. And that we do so beyond an election, in the days and weeks and years of governing that follow.
Persist for those who are poor to have enough food, shelter, safety; for religious, racial, queer minorities to have equal protection, freedom and opportunity; for gender equity; for indigenous neighbours and communities to be free from colonialism and prejudice and share equally in support and self determination; for climate justice and protection of the earth, its air, lands and waters, and all creatures, especially for the sake and survival of those who come after us; for a more compassionate society that cares for the vulnerable, those who struggle with mental and physical illness, those differently abled, the addicted, the very young and elders, the isolated, oppressed, and victims of violence; and for peace!, peace and justice in this and every land, for every person of this world, lasting, loving, deep justice and peace for all creation.
Persist in work and prayer, in whatever form that takes for each of us. Persist together in continually seeking justice, compassion and peace for all people and all creation until it is realized. Pray and persist and do not lose heart. It is an example for us to follow. I believe it is the way Jesus/God persists for the world, and I pray we do the same.
Rev. Lyle McKenzie is Co-Pastor of Lutheran Church of the Cross, and part time Assistant to the Bishop for Worship in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
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* This article was published in the print edition of the Times Colonist on Saturday, October 26th, 2019