Maximillian Amadeus Banzai (banzai) wrote,
Maximillian Amadeus Banzai

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God, bless America

But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

—2 Samuel 12:19-23
It's a brand new day in America. No doubt I'm concerned about all the same things as yesterday and the day before, and some of those horrors are that much closer to reality, but that fact doesn't threaten God's sovereignty. My hope was never up for a vote. That also gives me the security to enjoy what is good in this new day. If it were all on our shoulders, my thoughts might be ruled by fear. But while the King reigns, the potential for evil in days ahead shouldn't keep me from appreciating the potential for good. The two are rarely mutually exclusive

For barlow_girl and me, the passage above frames what the letting go of one responsibility and moving to the next looks like in faithful worship. In the election, my responsibility was a vote. Honestly, it didn't take being plugged into a live feed of mediated messages and cultish celebrity for me to make that decision—there just weren't that many moving parts that had relevance to my priorities. That part is now over, and my responsibilities as a citizen, first of a Kingdom, then of a country, shift. I pray both I and my fellow dual citizens (however they voted) can make that transition with wisdom, courage, and grace. It serves both King and country not to make an idol of the president or presidency, but to render him the man who will occupy that office (as well as the man who does) the respect he is due, commensurate with the authority he holds under God.

Whether the United States is, by design, a Christian nation is an open question. Mostly, I say "no," but sometimes there are echoes in our governance that are difficult to account for in any other way. One such echo is the dual nature of public office: our leaders are at once authorities and servants. This seems a relatively new practice in government, and it's directly connected to a Christian worldview. Among religions, ours is unique in worshipping a God and King who comes not to be served but to serve. Yet His authority is in no way diminished. He hold the scepter even as He wraps a towel around His waist. This is our King, and our government reflects this paradox of God.

Other than idolatry, one of the ways we can misunderstand our relationships to God and to government is to live in primarily view of only one of these two aspects: either we see how they serve us and reject them when they disappoint us, or we see how they rule over us and think only in terms of how we and others toe the line (or not). The truth, as they say, must lie somewhere between the two. We must be a people under authority (which does not remove struggle and dissent; rather, it places these firmly in context), and we are indeed a people who are being served by King and country.

God, bless America. Indeed, He already has.
Tags: hope, politics, prayer, quotes, scripture, struggle, the gospel, theology
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