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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.

Comments

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Once again: Very well said. I'll probably read it a few more times to give it a chance to sink in where it needs to.
Strong post ... even though we will have a new President, our King is the same as always (whose Kingdom shall have no end)!

from stephy

I know. It's fun to be excited, but God is bigger than a leader.
It's kind of like payday: it is really fun and gives you hope, but God isn't any less to be depended upon than when you were flat broke.

Re: from stephy

I love this!
I'm glad this was the first thing I read today.

Though I don't agree with Obama policy

My first thought was I need to pray for him as I have prayed for Bush, and Clinton. I have prayed for my leaders, and will continue to do so. I pray for Obama's family in this transition, for his safety in his position. I pray for his heart to be focused on Christ. I pray for him to have great wisdom and compassion, grit and tenacity where he needs it. I pray God's will for our nation, and Obama's place in this will. My kids knew what I had hoped in this election, and they began to ask a few days ago, "what if Obama wins?" My commment was that we would do what we always do, we will pray for our president. I pray for all who won the election, all who will serve in our government.
I very much appreciate this, Lee. Thank you.
It's interesting....I'm hearing a lot of people say that even though they may not agree with Obama, they will give him the respect and consideration he deserves as president.

I'm not saying you were one of those but it's a shame that people couldn't afford the same sentiment for George Bush.

I'm so tired of hearing people slam and criticize him....at least now maybe people will leave him alone.

There's so many "backseat drivers" when it comes to how to run our country! I'm sick to death of it.

Boy, do I ever agree with you on respect for George Bush—it's been hard not to immediately chastise some folks for attitudes I've heard for years, now that many of them are now on the "respect should be given independently of agreement" bandwagon (a wagon I've been trying to ride before there was a band on it).

(That chastisement may well still be appropriate; it just seemed like bad timing and unclear motivations on my part. But the logic is sound regardless.)
I love that you used that passage. I think it's so relevant to what's many have been doing and feeling. Are you EVER going to screw up a post??? EVER???
You have a lot of unflichingly admiring readers, Mr. Lee!
Thank you so much for sharing that scripture! I think that is a great way of looking at the recent turn of events.
My hope was never up for a vote

amen brother. excellent post
And excellent icon!
yes thank you so much...we serve the servant king, the wounded healer...i am thankful you are on lj
Aw, thank you! That means a lot.
you seem to post straight from my heart, only my heart doesn't speak this eloquently.
thank you.
You're always welcome—this stuff can just be a bunch of muck in my own head and heart when I don't get it out, so when it's helpful to anyone else, that's a nice bonus.
"My hope was never up for a vote."
I to appreciate this line. How easy it is to turn towards offices of authority, technology, rules, or pretty much anything else that will not save us, to be our savior.

Glad I found the blog

bnc
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>>>

This was so beautiful.

ther 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.>>>

And this is just...wow. Thank you.

It's odd and surreal to feel my own celebration and watch the world celebrate and not wonder about the level of hype and *worship* of Obama. When I saw the different nations celebrating, it finally hit me, what so many have been concerned with, the level of emotion and hope placed on one man. And he is just a man, and if a good man (which remains to be seen), feels the already crushing pressure of never being able to live up to these God-like expectations, because people are really treating Him like a Savior. Or perhaps even tempted to believe them, which is far more dangerous.

Wow, does he ever need our prayers. from the temptation of this fandom and from the inevitable disappointment of people who are perhaps, seeking a Savior in Him and the disappointment when he falls short. Which he will.
Agreed, and it's in no way awful that he will fall short. Obama will be responsible for his own actions, and there's no evidence to suggest that he doesn't expect to fail or doesn't want to be accountable when and if he does. The possibility of a worshipful stance toward him has obviously massive dangers toward our spiritual state, but there are also a couple of subtler ones:
  • No one should ever put anyone they love or care about between themselves and God. The most terrifyingly dangerous place in all of existence is between a jealous God and the people He loves.
  • No one should rob another person of his or her dignity under God. The dignity of being accountable to God and others is Obama's created right (and responsibility). In addition to all of the civic repercussions, it is a disservice and dishonor to the man to raise him above his own dignity as a man.
What if God isn't real? We should consider that possibility in all of this.
I've considered it and found it lacking.
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