Friday, January 20, 2017
Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too. I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing. And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile.
And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.) Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles. Galatians 2:1-3, 6-8(NLT)
When you compre him to the other apostles, Paul came late to the game, not being one of Jesus’ original twelve. Paul also came with a vastly different game plan than anyone else. Peter, James, and John had their eyes on a Jewish kingdom; God gave Paul an assignment to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles. In writing about this to the churches of Galatia Paul expressed the reality that God had no favorites, which means we are ALL favorites of the Father. And the way Paul operated…coarse, blunt, fearless and really hard to understand or harness, Paul was, undoubtedly, hard to get along with. Let’s just say sometimes it caused more than a few eyes to roll at the apostles’ convention.
On this morning of the Inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States, I have a sense that the President-elect is something of a Paul in the 21st century. And as he is about to assume the helm of these nowhere-near-united states, I sense a certain Doctor Seuss-ness as to what to think about the condition of this country and the uneven nervousness across the aisles of red and blue. America is like the Zode who split his pants because he got on his horse and rode off in all different directions.
Besides those on the far-left and far-right politically or religiously, other factions of age, socio-economic, race, gender, and others who have a chip in the political-agenda game, well…suffice to say there is enough lightning to go around when it comes to opinions of whether Trump belongs in the White House or not.
This day, and dare we say the next four or eight years, will NOT be uninteresting; it will be more surreal than we could imagine.
And yet, here we are.
Like Paul walking into the meeting with the apostles in Jerusalem, Trump will walk down Pennsylvania Avenue later today, amid fanfare and wailing. And most of the nation will, like Peter, James, and John did with Paul, begin to hold its’ collective breath as to what will happen next.
And, because we serve a God of ALL favorites, I believe what will unfold in the days ahead is the working-out for good the purposes of God[ii].
I am reminded of the inside joke that circulates in preacher’s circles about the choices God sometimes makes to bring about His will, especially when the not-present preacher they’re gossiping about seems to be having a strong success. It goes something like, well, if God could use Baalam’s ass to speak to a prophet, He can use that guy too.
I have an idea that applies to The Donald, as well as to you and (especially) me.
Whether you’re on the far-rabid right, or far-rabid left, or somewhere in the nervous middle, please join me today in praying for our new President[iii], and all those in authority. They’re going to need it because the road just got a little rockier! May God bless and have mercy on us all.
[ii] Romans 8:28
[iii] 1 Timothy 2:1-2