Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying,
“But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
- Psalm 2:1-6
Last week, I duly prepared a post and was about to set it to send when the nation just, sort of, imploded. Since then, I’ve watched and read more news and commentary than in the prior six months combined. I do not want to write a political piece, per se, but the drama of the political environment has implications for us all. Much of what we see seems hard to believe. The responses of everyday Americans have ranged from near-complete denial, with an unfounded confidence that everything will work out alright in the end, to the opposite extreme in which militias are forming on both the far right and the far left, with conservatives being warned to arm themselves against tyranny. I readily admit that I have found it hard to decide how to respond to the events of the last week, not because I do not have an opinion, but rather, because I have too much opinion. As Christians, our intent should be faithfulness and obedience to Jesus Christ above all else.
Politicians do not represent Christ, and one can be Christian and vote for either party. However, as I have stated before, religion in general and Christianity in particular are in direct conflict with progressivism. Progressivism is a broad school of thought in the Western world that assumes the human race is advancing with each new generation. It is the party of Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger, proponents of eugenics to eliminate inferior people such as “Orientals, Jews, and Blacks.” Progressivism and eugenics went out of style after Hitler, but it did not go away. Instead, progressivism became the liberal party, until liberalism began to get a bad name. Then, it became progressivism again. My point is that there is a long line between the initial expression of progressivism a century ago and where we are today. The primary assumption of progressives is that they can improve the human race and correct the globe’s physical failures.
This assumption flies in the face of the Gospel. Christianity holds that human beings are a fallen race in a fallen world, corrupted by sin and in need of salvation, and wholly dependent upon the mercy and goodness of God for life itself, as well as for any lasting relief from the misery we inflict on one another and on ourselves. The Christian hope is in the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, followed by Pentecost. By taking death into Himself on the Cross, Jesus accepted the wages of sin that was not His, and then, He destroyed death with Life. That same Life that raised Jesus from the dead is given to us in the outpouring the Holy Spirit in our lives. There is no improvement of fundamental human nature, no advancement of our species, only the gift of salvation from God – salvation from the sin corroding our inner being, salvation from death, and salvation to Life eternal.
The United States came into being in the search for freedom and self-determination. Even more specifically, people came to this land in search of religious freedom. Throughout my lifetime, just a little at a time, religious freedom has been increasingly restricted. I wish I could tell you that we can remain Christian and function easily in society, but I do not think that is true. When tech companies, corporate gurus, and the media can shut down the voice of the President, irrespective of political persuasion, and disseminate partial truths and outright falsehood, then we have no basis for expecting our personal freedoms to be safe. I am not here defending the President. Rather, I am accusing the entities that have “taken control” of the freedom and laws of our nation, even as they accuse the current administration of doing what they themselves are actually doing. These entities hurl dangerous invectives at the President when they, not he, are curbing rights and deciding law apart from any legislative body or decision by will of the people. Even more dangerously, they are controlling access to information, shutting down dissenting voices, and removing information that contradicts their views. Several days ago, a long-time friend from childhood had his social media account with 30k+ followers canceled, along with over 71,000 other people on the same platform.
Even if one dislikes the President and voted against his second term, cause for deep concern remains. If an unelected, unchecked, and largely unknown group of people possess sufficient power to silence this President, then they become the arbiters of American life. You may agree with their actions today (and, really, how many of us have wished he would stop tweeting?), but what will you do when they disagree with your actions tomorrow? If freedom of speech is not protected, then neither is freedom of religion protected. As things stand right now, my inclination is to think Christians probably ought to feel somewhat vulnerable. We as Christians have accommodated our culture and compromised our faith in so many ways. When Scripture becomes hate speech, what will you choose? How will you live?
History tells the story of endless aspirations to power and control, of human complicity with evil, of the human capacity for delusion and disregard for human life. That we are shocked by the events of today reveals how fortunate we were to have the freedoms we did. Once lost, those freedoms will be exceedingly hard to restore, if not impossible. But, salvation never belonged to the world and never came from a government. Every despot in history is gone, but God remains. Christ is still risen, and He still reigns in glory, even as He still saves the lost, the terrified, the wounded, and the broken-hearted.
God is not on the side of a political party. God is on the side of the human race – the whole human race. Nations rise and fall, but our God is from everlasting to everlasting. I do not for one minute believe there is anything worth more than the love of God. But to abide in His love, to be at home in His love, we also have to live in truth, for Jesus Christ istruth. If we live in truth, we are going to run afoul of our culture. If your children cannot get into a good college, or if you cannot get a mortgage, or if you are ineligible for promotions or travel or any other punitive measures that require you to conform, what will be your choice? We’ve never faced anything like this before.
What are we to do? Pray for our nation and our leaders, as the Scriptures instruct. In the weeks ahead, we are going to explore how to go about living more fully in Jesus Christ. How do we draw strength and have hope in our God as the national rule of law fails? For today, I commend you to this one task: decide to read the Scriptures. I don’t mean read someone else’s devotional on a Bible verse delivered to your inbox, including my own. I mean, pick up your Bible and read that. To make it easy, in the next day or two, I’ll add a page to the website with daily readings from the Bible – free of charge, no commentary, just a readily available list of passages from Scripture that you will have to look up, not link to. I’ll do my best to post seven days of readings every Monday morning. I am not a proponent of “me, Jesus, and the Bible” Christianity. The Scriptures contain a wealth of spiritual riches one person cannot discover alone. But before one can know what is confounding in the Bible, one has to have read it. If you’ve read it before, read it again.
Politicians, corporate moguls, media talking heads, and tech companies come and go, live and die. There is nothing new about the desire personal gain – personal greed, personal power, personal safety. What you can trust, however, is this: He Who made the heavens and the earths, He Who formed you in the womb and called you by name, He Who numbered the hairs on your head, will never leave you or forsake you. He will give you life and hope and joy, no matter what circumstances surround us.
Until Christ returns in glory, evil will move across the earth. Do not let yourself become afraid, and do not allow yourself to give up. What we will discover in the midst of chaos is that our God is faithful and true. If you hang tight to Christ, you will realize that He is holding onto you.
In Christ –
Rev. Elizabeth Moreau
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