Treasure Valley Prays

Practicing Participation

I voted sticker

Over my head I hear music in the air.
Over my head I hear music in the air.
Over my head I hear music in the air.
There must be a God somewhere!
(verse two, Over My Head)

I am writing this on election day. We do not know what the day and night will hold. When I do not have words for my devotions and prayers, I find myself turning to the poets and artists. Poetry and art, including music, has a way of naming my thoughts and emotions in a way that narrative simply cannot. Listening to or even reading the words to Over My Head, fill we with hope.

I also have hope because of the participation in our democracy that I am witnessing. Friends who have never volunteered to be poll workers have volunteered this time. A friend in Texas told the story of handing out muffins to voters, including a new citizen voting in his first election. A college classmate of mine is running for state senate in North Dakota. This is in addition to the many ways I watch people participate in local government right here in Nampa—serving in office, testifying at hearings, collecting signatures for ballot initiatives, registering people to vote, writing letters to the editor about issues they care about. Democracy works when a country’s citizens participate and when everyone is empowered to participate. I am celebrating and finding hope in increased participation and people’s passion to make sure everyone has access to participation.

I think that the intentional liturgy which is so much a part of worship in my congregation and many of our reader’s and contributor’s congregations is great training ground for democracy. Yes, the many congregations have councils and teams or committees where work gets done and discernment happens. But the experience that grounds all the rest of our ministries is worship, and worship is also inherently participatory. It is hard to be a silent bystander in an intentionally liturgical worship service. Call-and-response is used throughout worship. Scripture is sometimes read responsively. Songs are sung by the assembly. Lay people take on multiple leadership roles. Liturgy is truly the work of the people.

Today I am thankful to be in the company of citizens who are engaged in democracy. I am grateful to be part of a faith community that encourages participation. Though there is so much I do not know right now, I can still belt out the line, “Over my head I hear music in the air; There must be a God somewhere.” I hear the music and I remain hopeful that we will keep transforming and becoming who God calls us to be as individuals and communities.


This is my song, O God of all the nations, a song of peace for lands afar and mine. This is my home, the country where my heart is; here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrines; but other hearts in other lands are beating with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine. (v. 1 This is My Song)

Picture of Meggan Manlove

Meggan Manlove

ELCA Pastor, Trinity Lutheran, Nampa ID

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