Week of February 25-March 3, 2013
So how’s that sequestration goin’ for ya?
The not-so-subtle secret across the land these days is that we’re all becoming quite cynical about government. Here we thought we had this big “hope-and-change-forward” thing ramping up, and it turns out instead we’re having to change our hopes and go backwards a bit as we’re forced to be a little more realistic about the limits of government and the irritatingly finite nature of wealth.
Government cut off from the Law of God becomes a law unto itself. Governments can become as narcissistic and self-serving as any human being. All governments want to do good, but that only begs two questions: Which good? and Good for whom?
Unless God defines the terms of the good, government will always assume that power and, sooner or later, it will take as the supreme good that of aggrandizing its own perks and privileges rather than preserving the wellbeing of the people it governs. Anything that challenges this hegemony – such as the Gospel of Jesus Christ – can expect to be vilified, curtailed, marginalized, or worse.
Over the centuries, Christians have learned a thing or two about the workings of government. The Christian worldview was a major contributor to the American Founding, but that worldview is receding, setting like the sun and leaving government to reinvent itself every four years or so. We should grieve at the loss of a Christian foundation for our nation, but we should also work hard to re-establish that basis. It is part of the Christian’s calling, especially because of our role as “we the people”, to seek the Lord’s good purposes and plans for civil government. Individually we may seem unlikely as servants of God for renewing our nation. However, as each of us looks to the face of our Lord Jesus, as we pray earnestly together and become equipped to live every aspect of our lives in the light of God’s truth, we will find new power to make all things new, including our culture and society.
It may be a hard road back, and there will be trials to endure as we seek to re-plant the flag of God’s truth in the public square. We must not run from such challenges, but within and through them. And we must not love our comforts so much that we compromise our convictions with respect to the role and limits of government. Love for God and neighbor requires that we make the most of every opportunity for advancing God’s truth, and that we refuse to give in to the forces of relativism, utilitarianism, and pragmatism.
Politics and government won’t save us, but they can make a bigger mess of things, even than we’re currently experiencing, as long as those who know the way of true goodness refuse to risk making that goodness known.
“In this sign conquer.” So he did,
and persecution ended.
But peace from Christian leaders hid
the price of a world befriended.