You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Galatians 5:13-14
I have been wanting to write about “the doings” in Washington DC for some time, yet I am – always – reluctant to come across as political or partisan. Appropriate behavior, however – along with qualities such as kindness, patience, goodness, and self-control – has no political slant.
I have never believed Christianity is a prerequisite for serving in representative government; but morality, civility, and decency? – now that’s another question.
Then – Sunday morning, during worship – I realized what I really need to post about is leadership. So I’ll begin in 1776, with the glorious stand taken in favor of civility, and liberty, and justice for all.
“This Presbyterian Rebellion”
History records England’s King George calling out the efforts of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and company as “This Presbyterian Rebellion,” with Patriots often tagged as “Those blasted Presbyterians.”
How is this relevant to today’s post? Well, this past weekend, 10 members of our Presbyterian congregation were ordained and installed as elders and deacons; I thought it would be interesting to think about what it might look like if Washington was populated by blasted Presbyterians today.
Our country may have been imagined and established by people of such conviction, but it is very hard to witness the behavior of our leaders today and find much beyond incivility, indecency, rudeness, self-serving arrogance, contention, and a movement away from both justice and righteousness.
This became especially apparent as I listened to the vows our new church officers took in front of the people. Here are a few examples:
- Will you fulfill your office in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions?
- Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love your neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world?
- Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church?
- Will you seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love?
- In your ministry will you try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ?
Oh to see the day when Washington is heart-deep in energy, intelligence, imagination, and love!
And, on this Martin-Luther-King-Day, do not ideas such as love of neighbor, reconciliation of the world, peace, unity, and justice ring compellingly true?
This is a post about leadership!
If any leader in this great nation is propelled into office on any agenda other than that of service, reconciliation, unity, civility, and justice, then we have by definition moved away from the heart of what makes us great to begin with!
If such leadership is then sustained, and affirmed, and validated by popular voice, then we are but a generation away from forgetting who we are.
If such leadership is not consistently challenged – internally – by those who cling to its coattails for their own power, then it is evident that Washington is no longer a shining city on a hill but has become a dark gateway into a future where – once again – we the people are consigned to the role of serving those who no longer believe in Liberty and Justice for all.
I need to finish on a word of hope and promise. I may be justifiably concerned about the disappointing tenor of leadership in Washington today. But, I am completely confident that the huge, robust, heart of this nation still beats to the tune of love and justice! And – because of what I witnessed in church yesterday – I also understand that:
- So long as there is light, light will completely defeat any darkness.
- Love is the most powerful force on the face of this planet.
- So long as we are obedient to God’s call to lead, then the voice of hope and promise and grace and justice will never be silenced….
In love, and because of love – DEREK