I’ve got to admit that as the years pass by, I grow less and less concerned about who is in the White House and more and more concerned about my role in the cause of the greater good. I was on the treadmill this morning as President Obama took the oath of office and officially started his second term as leader of the free world (I know, I know, he was actually sworn in yesterday in a private ceremony, but go with me here). What struck me was the brevity of the actual oath of office. Short sweet and to the point. Short enough for us to focus upon and yet filled with great meaning about the duty and responsibility for the office holder.
The one line that did catch my attention was the opening welcome when Pres. Obama greeted all of us fellow citizens. Yep, that is the key for me. All of us working together wherever we are and whatever we do. The difference we can make together is greater than anything a government could do and more lasting as well. It made me resolved to continue to advocate and work for social and economic justice in our society and the other cultures of the world. My calling leads me to not worry about who is in office be they Republican or Democrat. Their’s is a different and important calling for certain. Rather my calling is to spread the news that the practice of forgiveness, generosity, and compassion is the way that leads to life no matter which political party is in power.
So I will continue to pray for Pres. Obama tonight along with the other government leaders. May their decisions be profitable and actions just. I will also continue to recognize that we as followers of Christ have an important part to play that transcends a four year election cycle in importance and urgency.
Disappointing is the word that comes to mind. Why? Because God has been in the news a lot lately. Let me be more clear. God’s NAME has been in the news a lot lately and it has been less than flattering. God has been tied to a host of mistakes by influential people (Sanford, Ensign, etc, etc.), and God’s Word has been used as a means to keep powerful people in place while others are marginalized (namely women within the church). It seems that Christianity is becoming more of a punch-line for late night comedians than the answer for the world.
Let me also be very clear here. We all make mistakes. We all are fallen and in need of forgiveness. Not one of us can stand on our own merit before God. Thanks be to God for forgiveness and mercy in my life. I am not throwing stones at anyone. I am begging us as a people to be more cautious when speaking “for” God.
For the sake of the Kingdom, please let us begin to refrain from using God as a crutch or as a means to manipulate others or as a means to justify our own desires.
Rather, I am calling us to have as our goal Scriptural Holiness and nothing else. A Holiness (separateness from the world) based upon God’s Word and not our desires. A call to sacrifice. A mandate for choosing to serve rather than be served. A plea for living out what it means to be a people of forgiveness and justice. A call for personal devotion mixed with outward works of mercy toward others.
Sanford Confession Is More Bad News for Republicans – NYTimes.com.
I will write more later about this But let me leave it here: Get some accountability in your life. All of us. Please. End of sermon.
Obama Pressures Wall Street Over Bonuses – NYTimes.com.
President Obama calls the bonuses “shameful”. An interesting choice of words. More of an eastern sounding response than a western response. In the west we lean on justice and legal system to keep people in line. In the east there is more of shame based system of people being shunned and losing respect that keeps people in line. Let me read a lot into the President’s statement: While it was not illegal nor are we going to pursue any legal avenues for your actions of paying out the 6th largest bonus pool in the history of Wall Street one of the worst, if the the worst, year in Wall Street history, you have lost respect and position in our society. You have proven that you are not trustworthy. The next time a hand is held out for help, or a plea is made for softer regulations, or a request is made to “trust” us, I doubt this Administration or the American people will be in a mood to give even a little bit.
I will say it again, there is no accountability in place. Until such time as their is consequences for actions, there will be no changing in the actions. What is the definition of insanity?
How does this relate to our relationship with God? God holds grace and justice in perfect tension. We have free will and are directly impacted by the consequences of our decisions. “Fear” of the Lord is the first-step to wisdom. I believe that all of these Scriptural truths are what is needed in our lives and in this situation.
I know that in my life, I need accountability and boundaries. I need to know that their is grace for mistakes but that my mistakes “count”. (As an aside, I would not be excited to live in a world where my actions did not count.) What is the worn out expression? God loves us too much to leave us where we are. I wonder if we can say the same for our relationships with others and their relationship to us.