I thought that the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States this week was historic on multiple levels.
There was the historic triumph over racism where a black man became the leader of a country where a scant generation or two earlier is was legal to not allow African Americans to eat or ride or work with whites. That is not to be minimized or dismissed – many other countries still struggle with their own racist past and such a cross-racial election is unthinkable. Imagine a white person elected in South Africa or an Arab in Israel, a black man in Russia or a Caucasian in Japan.
So the inauguration of a black man is welcome confirmation that what America says it stands for – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – is more than old words on a crumbling piece of paper.
And Barak Obama joins the ranks of the younger men to be elected president. JFK was the youngest I think. But just over four years ago, Barak Obama was an unknown and quite new junior Senator from Illinois who made a dramatic speech at the Democratic Convention. I remember that some said then “he might be President some day.” I’m not sure anyone imagined that just four years later he would win the primary and then the election and take the oath of office. Remarkable!
But there is the fact that America is still quite divided, not even as much by race (President Obama cold not have been elected on the black vote alone), but by political ideology. The last two elections were within a point or two. The gap was wider this time (53-46) but not a 60-40 landslide; the divisions are not erased and may be intensified. And many do not hold the same values or think the same solutions that the new President advocates will help us move forward.
So what does a Christian do? Applaud and support the new administration? Join the vocal opposition?
Scripture is crystal clear. Pray for the President. The apostle Paul instructs Timothy…
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
So we can pray for Godly wisdom for Barak Obama, pray that the President will listen to wise counsel. Pray that God’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. And we can praise God that we have freedom to serve Him, worship Him and serve others in His name.
Resting in Him,