The Once and Future King of America

Psalm 47
Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth. He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves.  God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm. God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.

Ephesians 1:15-23
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

I was stunned this week when both John Kasich and Ted Cruz pulled out of the race for the Republican candidate for president; suddenly I felt my choices had been removed from me and I was faced with a very limited and unsatisfactory set of choices.  I was, in a word, incredibly disappointed.

I get really caught up in this political stuff. It is easy to think of the presidential elections as some sort of barometer for the nation.  I recently saw a post on Facebook targeted at my age group (sort of).  It had to do with my generation’s opinion of the presidential candidates.  I suppose I should explain the generational thing first. I was born in 1964, and technically my birth year falls in the sociological cohort of the Baby Boomers.  You might notice that I refer to science when I describe the ‘group’ that I belong in, because while sociology might identify my birth year as placing me in the generation of the Baby Boomers, I don’t quite relate to the Baby Boomers.

Part of the problem for me is that my mother was born in the very first year of the baby boom: 1947.  She married young and immediately became pregnant, so my birth year falls inside the set of years defined by Sociologists as the Baby Boomer Generation.  However, I don’t really identify with the Baby Boomers, mostly because I needed something to rebel against as a teenager, and that something is my mother and father.  My father was born in 1941, the generation preceding the baby boom, and my mother was born in 1947…as I said, the first year of the Baby Boomer children.  If I am going to successfully rebel, I can’t be a Baby Boomer!  So I fall into that nebulous group loosely termed the Baby Busters—kids born from 1962 to 1981, a generation too young to be Baby Boomers and too old to be Slackers.  We’re kind of boring, but at least we aren’t Baby Boomers. (It’s a joke…lighten up!)

Back to the Facebook post. I recently saw a post of Facebook targeted at my age group (sort of) and it was titled ‘Stop Scaring The Children!!’  The post was a video of Andy Stanley, the pastor of North Point Community Church, preaching to his congregation. Andy Stanley was reminding the older adults of his congregation (mainly Baby Boomers and Busters like myself) to lighten up when it came to the election; he wanted us to stop making dire predictions about the end of American culture as we know it, to stop predicting the rise of American facism.  Andy wanted us to stop declaring candidates like Trump, Clinton, or Sanders as ‘the destruction of everything America stands for!’

I have to admit that Andy Stanley a point.

I am terrified of what a Trump presidency could do to our nation. I fear that a Clinton presidency would be another eight years of lots of promises and not enough change, and I fear that a Sanders presidency would be fiscally unfeasible.  I am faced with choices that I don’t want to make, and no option seems like the right one.  My children’s futures depend on my choice, on my husband’s choice…and we don’t appear to have any good choices when it comes to our presidential candidate.  This is not a comfortable position to be in, and I fear what will happen in the next four to eight years—crucial years for my children who are young adults.

And yet…

When I read the scriptures for today I am reminded to lighten up.  I need to seriously lighten up!

Our nation has faced a civil war, two world wars, two wars overseas that had to do with the rise of Communism, the threat of nuclear war, three more wars overseas that had to do with the rise of extremism and terrorism, the threat of terrorist attacks and insurgence, and the ugly specter of racism, sexism, and fascism… and most of the wars I listed happened after 1940!  As a nation, we have been beset by threats on every side.

And yet we stand, strong and proud, free and brave, American to the very core.

Just one look at today’s scriptures makes it clear.

“For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth…He chose our heritage for us…Sing praises to God, sing praises…For God is the king of all the earth…God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne…for the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.”   Psalm 47

“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him so that with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe…God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.    Ephesians 1:17-21

What am I so afraid of?

I keep forgetting that although my nation might go astray and do stupid things, I still have the power to follow Christ!  I still have the power to do those things that bring glory to God and grace and mercy to the people I serve.  Nothing can stop God’s power!  Nothing can stop God from extending His mercy and provision to those who are in need if I am willing to serve Him as He calls me.  In the end, all my fears of what will happen in this presidential cycle boil down to me forgetting that nothing can stop the people of God from serving God. There is no one that we can elect who can stop us from feeding and clothing the poor, from building houses and clinics, from reaching out to the homeless and the prisoner, from doing the work of God in the name of Jesus Christ.

No matter what person…or idiot…the American people might elect to the highest office in our land, God alone is King.  God alone leads this nation to do what is right, and if (or when) our elected officials stop listening to God’s guidance, nothing stops the people of God from soldiering onward, even if it is in the face of political opposition.

The people of God have nothing to fear. Nothing at all! Andy Stanley is right—we need to stop scaring the children. We need to stop telling them to fear who is elected, and start telling them to serve the one and only King of all that exists: God Almighty.  If God is our King and we follow His will, nothing can derail us, destroy us, or bring us down.

Our God is King.  Follow the King.

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