A Post-Election Pastoral Letter by ELM Executive Director, Rev. Amanda Gerken-Nelson

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On Holy Saturday, when believers find ourselves in the liminal space of “Yes! And, not yet!” we have a tradition of gathering for a great vigil. With the elements of fire and water to accompany us, we allow the grief and unknowing of the moment to take refuge in the company of the communion of saints, as we, together, nestle into the great wonder and mystery of God.

It is in this tender moment when we retell the stories of our faith that remind us that it is God who created us into being! It is God who parted the seas and liberated her people! It is God who breathed new life into dry bones! It is God who saved Daniel in the den!

It is God who is the great, creative wonder of the universe that raised Christ from death to life!

We locate ourselves in this narrative not simply as a tonic for our temporary woes. We locate ourselves in this great narrative to settle into the truth of God’s reign, which is from everlasting to everlasting.

Throughout God’s narrative, there have been kings and rulers and presidents — some great and some greedy. And, none of them are the saviors of the world; that is Christ alone.

We should not seek to find Christ in Caesar’s palace — Christ has not and will never reside there.

Christ resides with the poor and the desolate. Christ marches in the uprisings for Black lives. Christ huddles with the caged children in their cells. Christ tends to the under-employed and uninsured. Christ dwells with those without house or home.

It is there we will find Christ in the world — where we will find real truth and hope and purpose. 


This neither dismisses our duty to vote nor our strong calling to participate in the systems that govern our daily lives — those are acts of Christian love that seek to ensure that the Christian values of radical love and justice are embodied in those systems which have so much responsibility and power over God’s people — the very people with whom Christ resides.

Embedding ourselves in the great narrative of God and reminding ourselves of Christ’s presence in the world is a practice not meant to admonish our actions but to ground them.

No matter the queen or ruler or president who resides in Caesar’s palace, “Our soul waits for the Lord; they are our help and shield. Our heart is glad in them, because we trust in their holy name. Let your steadfast love, O God, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” (Psalm 30:20-22)

“The Art of Enduring, For Holy Saturday” by Jan Richardson

This blessing

can wait as long

as you can.

Longer.

This blessing

began eons ago

and knows the art

of enduring.

This blessing

has passed

through ages

and generations,

witnessed the turning

of centuries,

weathered the spiraling

of history.

This blessing

is in no rush.

This blessing

will plant itself

by your door.

This blessing

will keep vigil

and chant prayers.

This blessing

will bring a friend

for company.

This blessing

will pack a lunch

and a thermos

of coffee.

This blessing

will bide

its sweet time

until it hears

the beginning

of breath,

the stirring

of limbs,

the stretching,

reaching,

rising

of what had lain

dead within you

and is ready

to return.



Amanda Gerken-Nelson (she/her/hers) — Amanda has not missed participating in an election since turning 18. Amanda gives thanks to her elders and comrades who have paved the paths for her right to vote, for agency over her body, to live publicly out, to be legally married, and to start a family.

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