The images which came out of Washington, DC last week were horrific… Protesters breaching the Capitol defenses and pushing past security to walk the halls of our most hallowed institution of democracy, lounge in offices of lawmakers, and overtake the Senate and House chambers. Many officers were injured, and several people were killed. I never imagined anything like that could happen.
A peaceful protest about the election – yes. That is what our democracy is about. But, breaching the Capitol with evil intention – no. That is not who we are. Nor is it in line with the principles upon which the United States was founded. What saddens me most are the ways that the name of Jesus was dragged into the conflict. To see Christians waving Jesus flags, carrying bibles, etc. as the capitol was stormed and destructive acts were committed weighs heavy on my heart. It's a painful reminder of how it is possible to lose sight of what it means to be followers of Jesus.
I realize we have had a difficult and confusing year. COVID continues to bring loss and anxiety in so many areas of life. The racial justice protests of the summer and fall have highlighted the struggle of inequality many still experience. We had a most unusual and hotly contested election which has created an explosion of passion on both sides. So, what does our country need from the church?
In the fall, I spoke about the upcoming election and reminded us that as followers of Christ we are first and foremost members of the Kingdom of God beyond identifying with any political party. As a Christian, I am to walk in the way of Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit. This means that I am driven by the attributes of love, compassion, truth, forgiveness, humility, goodness, peace, and hope.
Our country needs the church to be people of Jesus.
We need to be agents of reconciliation. We need to be people to repair the brokenness. We need to be those who listen to the lonely and sit with the disenfranchised. We need to courageously confront evil. We need to sacrifice for the good of others. We need to be heralds of hope.
I believe there are two things we as the people of Jesus can practically to do in this time. First, get involved in your local government… serve on a committee, run for an office, volunteer at the polls. We need people driven by the attributes of Jesus to influence our local government. And secondly, pray. The scriptures call us to pray for our leaders… and now, more than ever we need the supernatural work of God in our country.
This past Sunday I lead us in a corporate prayer for our nation. I have copied it here and encourage you to pray it over our nation and the leaders of both parties.
Prayer for our nation
O Lord, the events of this past week have shown us that we live in a broken world and that our nation is deeply divided. May our nation come to you in humility, may we confess our sin, and seek your face. And may you heal our land.
Where there is hatred bring love.
Where there is chaos bring order.
Where there is despair bring hope.
Where there is anxiety bring peace.
Where there is darkness bring light.
Where there is discouragement bring perseverance.
Where there is sickness bring health.
Where there is sin bring conviction.
Where there is conviction bring confession.
Where there is confession bring forgiveness.
Where there is death bring life.
Give our leaders wisdom, compassion, and courage to lead our nation into a time of renewal so we may truly be one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Lord, this is our plea, and we can look to no one else but you. Redeem and restore our nation.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.