On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021, I saw a flag charging the Capital steps. It had two names on it. The name of our Savior and the name of our president. I was angry. Not for political reasons, but for theological reasons. Why?
Jesus is the name that is above every name. At his name every knee will bow and tongue confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 9-11).
Jesus Christ is the King over every king (I Tim. 6:15). He is the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 1:8).
He is before all things and in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:17)
On the banner of Christ, there is only room for one name. If his name is on a flag, it is the singular name. How dare the nation’s Capital be stormed in the name of Jesus. How dare the name of Jesus be invoked in violence, the Lord who said, “blessed are the peacemakers.”
This particular flag is a symbol of something deeper, a Christian nationalism in the American church that forges the state and Christian faith into one. God has been hitched to a political movement. Brothers and sisters of every political persuasion, we must be very careful. When faith is married to a political movement, the movement becomes an idol, and God’s name is taken in vain.
The First Commandment reckons with every golden calf.
The Great Commandment excludes any rival allegiance.
The Eighth Commandment ranks above the first amendment. Our freedom of speech must be used for "the best construction."
Peddlers of hate are stoking Christians to “battle.” They will be judged severely. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh” (II Cor. 10:3). Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
We follow our Good Shepherd into the fray. He battled not with levers of the state, nor with sword or militia, but with the tool of his execution. His position was one of self-sacrifice, not demanding his own rights. His posture was self-denial for the sake of others.
Now is the time for humility and repentance. We have given poor witness to our Lord. We shall be found on our knees more than on a screen.
Be a good neighbor (Mark 12:31).
Be a selfless citizen (Rom. 13:1-7).
Be a reconciler and peacemaker (Matt. 5:9).
Be evidence of God’s love in a world of hate (Rom. 12:9, 13:10)
Put not your trust in man (Jer. 10:23-24).
The church is dizzy - off balance, disoriented, upside down. When you are dizzy, you need to hold onto something steady. Jesus Christ alone is our unmovable Rock. Stay close to the Good Shepherd. He knows the way, for he is the Way.
PRAYER FOR PEACE (Lutheran Prayer Book)
Almighty God, Ruler of all things and all men: You hold the universe in your palm,
You have set all things to move in harmony, You desire that men dwell in unity and love.
We have spoiled creation by our sin, We have disrupted harmony by our rebellion,
We have divided our nation by selfishness.
You will not permit sin to rule the day, You can bring order out of confusion,
You make nations instruments of your will.
We implore you:
Crush men’s lust for illicit power,
Stir in all people respect for your creation,
Kindle in all people love for one another.
To this end, we pray:
Raise up leaders everywhere who do your will,
Make the nations obedient servants of your purpose,
Teach women and men to live in service to one another.
Grant tranquility, that the peace which the world cannot understand may be preached to the nations in the name of your Son Jesus. Amen.