Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 10: Year 2
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. ” (Romans 13: 1 – 5)
Poor Paul, while I am in agreement with Paul on many of his insights that I believe are from God, this part of the letter to the Church in Rome gives me pause. This exception is especially true as I look at the history of our Washington D.C. government. In our past, our Government has condoned slavery until a civil war ensued. And after the war the re-united government still allowed some citizens to be unjustly treated having to ride in the back of public transportation, no voting rights; little to no education and the list goes on even to include community genocides . We imprisoned innocent Japanese Americans out of fear of the possible connection to Japan. No Paul, resisting such a government is not resisting God, but resisting an ungodly government.
Perhaps the best way to make a government the ideal that God wants it to be is not to abandon it, but to participate in the corrective action that will make the government more godly. As a writer of contemporary America I can’t ignore the racial unrest being made manifest today. There is a huge Black Lives Matter movement underway. People are pulling down statues of Civil War veterans and others believed to have condoned slavery or racial bias. We have banned the Confederate Battle flag at all public events and Mississippi is removing the Confederate battle emblem from their state flag, the last Southern State to do so. Sticking with our national government is truly the way to make us “a more perfect union.” Truly, All Lives Matter.
There are actions that people are doing that I don’t approve of. I don’t approve of rioting and vandalizing done to businesses. Protesting is ok but evil is wrong be it the government or mobs. I don’t like kneeling for the National Anthem. I am a thirty year U.S. Marine and proud of it. And, I am a so-called black man, (I really don’t believe in race), who really enjoys having a beer while watching John Wayne westerns. I pondered about this a lot before sharing it but I needed to get this off my chest. I pray there is a godly message in this and that we all strive to make our government the government Paul speaks of.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John