Prayer, Politics and Provision
I’m hard-pressed to find suitable words to explain last week’s occupation of the Capitol building. These events mark a difficult moment in American history, and stand to highlight the deep divisions among Americans yet uncovered.
Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, we can certainly all agree that what was witnessed does not unify our country, and certainly does not promote our Christian values which have also set us apart from the behaviors and actions of the world.
It would be simpler during moments of crisis like these for the faithful few to retreat from the chaos, all while justifying their escapism with convenient axioms; Christians are called to be set apart; We belong to a different Kingdom; This world is a stop along the way to our final destination.
Yet I believe that as Christians, it’s in moments like these that we are called to offer Biblical images and words that reveal deeper truths to those around us. Truths which highlight the brokenness of human institutions, their need for repentance, redemption and restoration.
I was reminded of this message over the weekend by a good friend who is also one of our elders and a spiritual leader in our church. She was able, in ways that many aren’t, to offer Biblical encouragement and a strong call for Christian witness in response to violence.
This theme of engagement in the world runs straight through scripture. In 2 Chronicles God commands His people to “pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Then in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy who was witnessing mass persecutions and executions during the Roman Emperor Nero’s genocide of Christians, calls on him to “pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:2).
As so we too today follow this wisdom -- that we should pray for our leaders, whether we might happen to agree or disagree with them. We should pray for the collective repentance of those who have committed injustices. We should pray for their redemption and restoration.
And whilst we pray, we commit ourselves to the harder task of active engagement to bring unity to this nation. We bring as much good to our communities as we can because what we really want as Christians is to bring as close as possible our eternal home in heaven onto this temporary one on earth.
We engage with the wrongs we see around us so that more people might experience the true Kingdom and know it’s true King. We do not withdraw, but instead confront the chaos with words that heal, words that unite, that convict others of the need for repentance and that, like Amos says, bring to our nation “a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living” (Amos 5:24).