On January 20th, we witness the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Interestingly, the MSU Chorale made the trip and was part of the weekend of events.
Last Wednesday night, I led our church in prayer for the man with the twitchy Twitter finger. The Apostle Paul encouraged the church to pray “for kings and those in authority” (I TM 2.2). He made this instruction while the church was going through extreme persecution during the time of Nero. Christians were being tortured and killed for their beliefs. Asking the church to pray for the person responsible for these horrific acts is about as audacious as you can be.
The admonition to pray is non-partisan and non-preferential. It is not dependent on the political party, ideals, or positions of the person who is holding office. Nor does it imply or require agreement with the office holder’s political views. It is not an endorsement of the one holding office.
The biblical response for the church in a time like this is to pray for those in authority–in this case it is Donald Trump.
I’ve been here long enough to know that our church is a tapestry of different theological and political threads. Pull too strongly on one thread, and it endangers the fabric of the entire fellowship. Our church, perhaps like many others, is navigating through a certain degree of shock and acceptance of reality, depending one’s political views. Even though this can be a difficult reality, it is one for whom I am extremely grateful.
Last Sunday, I preached from the prophet Amos and on the phrase “let justice roll on like a might stream.” I stressed the importance of education and engagement as followers of Christ related to the societal challenges and opportunities we face. Afterwards, as I usually do, I stood in the Narthex to greet people on the way out. One person said, “Thanks for that Danny. We really needed to hear that. I am SO worried about our nation’s future.” Then, a few persons later I heard, “Thanks for that message Danny. We really needed that. I am so excited about our nation’s future.”
It’s not always easy to maintain such a fellowship. There are tensions and differences of opinion. But, we are held together by a common creed “Jesus Christ is Lord” and a mutual love and respect for each other.
There aren’t too many Baptist churches like ours around the Ozarks (I think we’re the only one). We don’t ask for voter registration or your political persuasions. What we endeavor to do is “check our egos at the door” and realize the Kingdom of God is a far greater and more lasting kingdom than this one.
Let’s pray for Donald Trump as well as Mike Pence. It’s important and perhaps the most audacious thing we can do.