Witness to history: the Wisconsin Recall

I’m feeling rather Calvinist this evening, knowing the results are out of our hands and in the hands of God’s providence.

A couple of impressions from today. First, Grace was open and a few people came in to look around and to pray. One woman who spoke with me was here from Minnesota to be with family who were deeply involved in the recall. She stopped in to pray and then we talked. She shared with me some of her story, her hopes and fears for today and for the future.

I walked around the square, as I try to do on a regular basis. There weren’t a lot of people around, but there was a nervous energy. And the network news trucks were there. CNN and Fox News were both parked a block and a half a way from Grace.

Back at Grace, I sat down with the parishioner who was volunteering at the reception desk this afternoon. He’s retired from the newspaper business, a former reporter on the Wisconsin political beat. He shared with me some of the wisdom he had gained about Wisconsin over his fifty years following politics. He also told me that as a cub reporter, he had been assigned to Joe McCarthy. Without making any explicit connection between the two politicians, he pointed out that a Walker victory tonight would vault him onto the national stage, just as McCarthy had gained national attention 60 years ago.

He also mentioned to me that nearly thirty years ago, a former rector of Grace had had a regular prayer service for people who worked in the Capitol. We both wondered whether something similar might be meaningful in the context of our divided polity.

Whatever happens tonight, Grace’s doors will be open tomorrow morning, offering a place for prayer in the midst of a tumultuous world.

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