barren1Watching in shock and dismay at the overrun of the Capitol on Wednesday (January 6, 2021),

instigated by the president of the United States, emotions ran the range from heartbreak and fury, all the way to … delight. The melee was cleared by police, though the damage was done and at least one and as many as four lives lost. It was not hard to reimagine the scene and the death count had the mob not been mostly white. There’s no shortage of commentary with politicians finding some backbone instead of chasing the wind.

Politicians and pundits insisted, “This is not America.”

But this is America.

We are helplessly divided, entrenched, angry, and unrepentant—all characteristics Scripture characterizes as “the world” (1 Cor. 1), a state of reality opposed to the kingdom of God.

As Christians, we default to prayer, asking God for help, for peace, for justice, for righteousness to roll. Somehow some still prayed for overturning the election, abetting the mob and giving into the falsehood. The aims and objects of prayer depended on the side you sit on. The answers depend on the Lord—as Abraham Lincoln recognized even amid four years of a blood-soaked civil war:

Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. (Lincoln’s Second Inaugural, March 4, 1865)

The Civil War was won, and lost, and its deadly and racist ripples persist. That Congress was compelled by yesterday’s violence to come to its senses and sort itself out, while welcomed, will likely last but a moment. As fallen humans, our capacities for righteousness and best intentions remain finite and tainted by sin and self-interest. We struggle to discern evil from good.

In Matthew 13:47–50, Jesus tells a parable about fishermen who hauled a daily catch ashore and culled the good from the bad. The parable portrays “the end of the age,” the final sorting, so to speak. We assume the shore to be eternity and the fish to be humans, though interestingly, the Greek text never expressly mentions the word fish.

Read more at: We Serve the Purposes of God, Not the Politics of Men

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

  • Worry

    Do we trust God to take care of each and every one of our troubles, or do we act like Read More
  • The Beauty of God

    Apocalyptic and the Beauty of God Isaiah 65. 17-25; Revelation 21.9-27 a sermon at Harvard Memorial Church, October 22 2006 Read More
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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Healing Words From A Dialogue With God by Sylvia Gunter +

    ... Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to Read More
  • Fast Of Words - A Different Kind Of Fast by Sylvia Gunter +

    Isaiah 58:10b-12 Time and again God brings me to my knees over my heart attitude expressed out of my mouth. Read More
  • The power of words +

    Our words have the power to bless or curse, to influence for good or for bad. Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Paul’s Word to Police: Protect the Weak (an excerpt) +

    Below is an excerpt of an article from Christianity Today, by Esau McCaulley, Read More
  • Easter: transforming how we relate to others +

    As we prepare for Easter, let’s prayerfully consider some questions regarding John 17. Read More
  • Jesus as the cultivator of our heart +

    Day after day our heart experiences dozens and hundreds of interactions: with others, with news stories,  with our thoughts, or Read More
  • Sing to the Lord: Thinking about to praise God each day with songs from our hearts +

    One of the overriding themes throughout scripture is praising God regardless of our circumstances. Read More
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