With the government shutdown hanging like a tumultuous black cloud over the United States, bickering over who should back down, concede, give in, and headlines scream SENATE DEMS GO OLD TESTAMENT: AN EYE FOR AN EYE. The government shutdown’s tentacles are far reaching, affecting every walk of life- weather research, National and State parks, the military, the FBI, NASA, research projects, etc. The list itself is exhausting to read.
The overwhelming effect on my church family has made me stop and think, Hey, why is the government ‘in charge’ so to speak, of so many realms where private industry, family government or Christian charity should reign? Why do we rely so heavily on the government? And, most importantly, where is the CHURCH in all of this? What is the responsibility of the church? What is the responsibility of the government?
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”- The Preamble to the Constitution
Where is the perfect union? The blessings of liberty? Posterity? What are teaching or handing off to future generations? The idea that the government owes them but God is not able to care for them- He has been excused from the establishment of said pursuits?
The church and state debate has been fresh in the media too as the Supreme Court takes up the issue of government-sanctioned prayer. The left cries ‘separation’ and that prayer in government meetings defies the first amendment while conservative wall-builders remind that the first amendment protects religious freedom, not bans it. let’s time travel for a moment to witness the birth of government-sanctioned prayer.
“On the brink of rupture, Franklin called the Constitutional Convention to prayer.-
I have lived Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” (Psalm 127:1) I firmly believe this, and I also believe this and I also believe without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages.
I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning…. and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.””- America’s Providential History
Benjamin Franklin called for prayers ‘imploring the assistance of Heaven’ every morning. This is the first thing we Christians should do. Pray. Don’t believe the revisionist Constitutionalists. Is someone suffering from the government shutdown? Pray. Is your church family at a loss? Pray. Is someone you know furloughed? Are you rethinking the direction of our country and the nation? Pray. Are you (like me) astounded at how far reaching the octopus of the government is? Pray? Are you concerned that the church is not doing the job she has been given and instead of ‘the company of believers being of one heart and soul’ and ‘nor was their a destitute or needy person among them’ (Acts 4: 32 &34) the body of believers is sending their own to nurse at the breast of the government? Pray.
*This is the first in a series of my ramblings on the Church’s responsibility, more to come.