A little humility goes a long way with God, others

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 27, 2018


The time leading up to the election was a contentious one. It was the British General Election of 1774, occurring in the wake of the Boston Tea Party and the growing revolt in the American colonies. Politicians were in confusion because the parliamentary election had been called earlier than scheduled. The leader of the opposition party in the election wrote to a friend, “I confess indeed that I think that all politics are now in so low a state and so little likely to revive, that I should feel a hesitation in giving encouragement to an expectation that we can continue long to drudge on in such unsatisfactory and so unthanked a laborious occupation.”

It was two days before the election that John Wesley, Anglican priest and leader of the Methodist movement, wrote in his journal, “I met those of our society (Methodists) who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them: (1) To vote without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy. (2) To speak no evil of the person they voted against. (3) To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

It is excellent advice for Christians and all people of goodwill in the time before any election, but especially so in a time like England faced in that 1774 election and in a time like our country faces as we anticipate the 2018 mid-term election. It is indeed a contentious time in our country today.

Recently Presiding Bishop Michael Curry (of my Episcopal faith tradition) said, “We as a country have to cross our dividing lines and find a way forward together. Democracy requires a certain level of civility in order for it to work, and it has definitely broken down, no question about that. If we truly love our country, we can’t let it go on in this way in terms of the breakdown of civility and the breakdown of our relationships.”

As we move through the final days of the 2018 campaign, it is time to reflect on the words of John Wesley almost 250 years ago and Michael Curry today. What can we do as people of faith to take care that our spirits are not sharpened, our relationships are mended, and our democracy strenghened?


The Rev. Cindy Howard is the minister of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.