One Nation Under God
We are fast approaching Election Day and regardless of who you are or your background, you have a horse in this race. Churches and pastors aren’t allowed to tell you who to vote for, and that is a good thing. Our pulpits are for preaching the Word of God in the Bible. Yet, it is important for pastors like myself to give guidance for all areas of life, so while I won’t tell you how or who to vote for—I will give you some thoughts on how to engage this whole election process.
You may be looking at the two options before you for president and either be extremely excited, or maybe you have just resigned yourself to picking one of the options. Regardless of how you feel towards the candidates, there is one thing we can all do.
In 1 Timothy, the apostle Paul is writing to his protégé, Timothy, a young man cut from the same cloth as Paul. Timothy is the pastor of the church at Ephesus, and the members of his church had the same concerns as we do today. They wanted to know how to function as a church, how to interact with their family including how to discipline and love their children appropriately, and they also wanted to know how to engage their government.
For them, the government was an empire and had an emperor called Caesar. Empires meant you do what you are told when you are told. Caesars, as the emperors were called, had total power and authority. Some of these leaders were decent, but others were deplorable. If you want proof, read about Caligula or Nero—these men were pretty awful and would definitely not be on your top choices for running your government. However, the people didn’t have a choice, and so they had to live with the person, whether a moral or immoral leader.
It would have been very easy for the church to justify disobedience, civil and otherwise, towards their government. It would have been justified to rise up and overthrow the corrupt regimes. However, the church didn’t do that. Instead, Paul instructed them in 1 Timothy 2:1-3:
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior…”
The church was urged to pray for their kings, their Caesars. Men who hadn’t earned their respect or their vote; they were asked to pray for these men. We don’t live in the same type of government—we choose our leaders. This is the joy and privilege of democracy and freedom. Yet, we too, are called to pray for our leaders – for our present President and our future presidents, for all the men and women who will make up Congress and the Supreme Court, and for all of our leaders in Iowa. So let’s start there this election season — let’s pray for our leaders and pray that we will be one nation under God.
Grimes United Methodist Church is bringing in a guest speaker the weekend before the election for a seminar called “Church, State, and the Politics of God”. Rev. Tom Fuerst, Lead pastor of The Table at Christ UMC in Memphis, TN will speak of the nature of the kingdom of God and how the church relates to the state. All are welcome to attend on Friday, November 4th from 6-8:30pm and Saturday, November 5th from 8:30am-1:30pm. Childcare will be available along with the option to order lunch for Saturday. Register here.
One Nation Under God