January 26, 2017 § Leave a comment
I’ve heard it said, Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Matt 22:21, NRSV). And many tell me that this means we should honor the new President and wish his well-being as Christians who honor God and God-given authority.
I offer another reading this morning.
What if the things of the emperor at the time Jesus spoke and the things of the emperor now look different? What if those things are no longer blind and passive obedience of a subject, without agency, bound to a particular individual in power at the moment? What if they now mean a social experiment called democracy practiced and tried (with many failures) for the past 200 plus years which only works reasonably when ordinary people hold their representatives accountable to policies that reflect some human decency and serve the good of the people themselves?
I will give the things that are the emperor’s to the emperor today. I will call, march, listen, speak out, read, write, debate and tweet to remind President Trump for whom he works. I will give to the system of this country what is due, civil disobedience–not gonna argue here whether the system itself is “Christian” or not; the Scripture is clear that I’m a sojourner on this earth anyway and my allegiance free from human political structures. It’s the responsibility of every participant in democracy. It’s what the founders of the constitution says. It’s the proper rendering to the emperor who is here to stay for now until the Lord decides otherwise. I give President Trump my resistance.
I will also pray for him (Oh I definitely pray for him, I pray for him more than any other president I’ve prayed for, and that’s including the Obama administration). I will pray that the Spirit of the living God slays the hell out of that man and radically saves him and turns his heart inside out; that truly is a miracle only God can do. And you know what? Those two things, fighting his policies tooth and nail to pursue a more perfect union on this earth for the time being and honoring him with prayers that put all my hopes in the coming Kingdom of God are perfectly complementary.
Is Jesus genius or what