Friday, December 2, 2016
Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly. May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. Help him to defend the poor, to rescue the children of the needy, and to crush their oppressors. May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever! May the king’s rule be refreshing like spring rain on freshly cut grass, like the showers that water the earth. May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.
Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen! Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19(NLT)
Amen and amen! Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19(NLT)
This Psalm may have been composed by David, anticipating the coronation of his son, Solomon. It is a wonderful prayer for any ruler, because it’s hugely challenging for any ruler to live up to the high-bar goals this prayer holds forth. It’s also exceedingly difficult for the people of any nation to choose a leader whose character matches this resume’.
The two great pillars of character are justice and righteousness. Justice is the rule of law, and that is a matter of the mind. Righteousness is a condition of fairness and mercy tempering the harshness of rules, and that is only possible as compassion and love spring from the fountain of the heart. It’s a thin line for any human to walk.
I have prayed for many presidents, from the 1950’s when Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower sat in the Oval Office, to the present day. It is wisely said that, if you voted, but don’t pray for whomever sits in that seat, you have neglected the more important part of a citizen’s right and duty!
And this is the urgency I feel for the people of our divided country today. We have just come through what is, in my lifetime, the most perplexing presidential election campaign…ever! We are now facing uncharted waters in terms of the personality and volatility of the one who will become the 45th President of the United States in January. Many are already praying, indeed some, as the apostle Paul, never ceased praying. Some are planning to leave the country; others are glad to see them go.
While there have always been differences between people (sharp differences) when it comes to political rubber and road, I do not believe I have ever seen a more shameful time when hatred and vitriol rule the day, as we now have from both sides of the aisles of both Washington and Wal-Mart.
Now, I don’t have time here for a sermon, but let me ask Methodist founder John Wesley to give us all a sermon-like reminder. In Wesley’s day there was a brouhaha boiling over such things as baptism, church membership and how to administer the Lord’s Supper. In Wesley’s rather well-known sermon A Catholic Spirit, after recounting the many differences held, he called for action that befits people of character:
Let all these smaller points stand aside. Let them never come into sight. "If your heart is as my heart," if you love God and all mankind, I ask no more: "give me your hand."[ii]
That’s the rub today – can those of you on the “right” side of the aisle take the hand of those on the “left” side? Can we put aside the petty, and join together in prayer for the one who will occupy the hot seat in Washington? Can we do this for the sake of our country and its leadership and duty around the world in a very troubled time?
There is a vast difference between loyal opposition and dividing dissenter among those who didn’t get their way in the election. And there is also quite a difference between winning the White House as a prize, and rubbing it in the face of honest people who would hold the winner to a higher standard. There is a nobler way that awaits us.
Democrat, Republican, Green Party, Tea Party, or no party, I want us all to pray for the outgoing president, and the incoming president; will you give me your hand?