As Thanksgiving has come and gone, and at church we remembered the Pilgrims, who came to America's eastern shore, and planted something there that was of the Spirit, and had within it an idea called The Covenant, of people, by faith, agreeing to walk together, to be in relationship, to witness to community.
That spirit has been fundamental to the whole idea of this land we've loved so long. It's not a place of kings, or power, or heavy rule, but a place of people, living in relationship to each other - upholding and honoring each other. Indeed, serving each other.
I love to think we are, as Scripture says, a chosen people, a people singled out to bless and be a blessing in America. That God cares about, and claims this land for His own.
I pray we can learn to be patriots, to love our country gladly and humbly, and defend her as the nation of freedom and fairness she is trying to be.
Written on Thursday, November 10:
Today our President-to-be visited the White House. At the gracious invitation of our sitting President. The Press Corps was not invited to come, leaving it to the White House Corps.
Young protesters gathered outside, in Washington, New York, and California. A new day has come. Not anticipated by most newspapers, and most people. Something dramatic - not only in America, but world-wide.
A middle-Eastern cleric believed that God was at work in it. Quite possibly he's right. It feels like a rumble underneath. A movement. A sea change. In the minds and hearts of people. A cry for justice, and equality. A refusal to accept the old way of a widening gulf in both cultures and economies. Most obviously seen in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
What if it is a hand from above, moving many forces in ways we haven't seen before; using people we never expected to be seeing Him in.
Perhaps the focus of selfishness and power for me alone, having gone far enough, and God Himself is saying "Turn back O Man, for swear thy foolish way." Maybe there are, in the midst of cultural clash and political surprise, a new day of GOD CALLING to you and me to be His for America, something echoing from our Pilgrim past - of people coming together, in community, in relationship, in love - in John Winthrop's vision of us all as a city on a hill, with the eyes of the world upon us. Because of a new reign of God's greatest gift - His love - alive and wonderfully at work - in us all.
Today, at the Park Nicollet lab, waiting for my INR test, I picked up a TIME magazine of last spring. They were exploring what a President needs to know, or understand, in order to do that job of dealing with multiple issues and events, many of them of world-wide importance.
They were interviewing Donald Trump, high in his Tower in Manhattan. And he was holding out for instinct instead of experience, of gut feelings over knowledge. And he felt with one question he got it right. It was, I believe, about NATO. His immediate response was something like: "It's too ineffective, and it's too expensive."
TIME, of course, was looking for layers, for subtlety, for nuance. And was concerned that this newcomer to politics was too ready to trust his own instincts, to believe in himself, in what he thought in the moment.
Much could be said about extensive education, years of experience, and myriads of smart advisers.
What is unlikely to surface in public discussion, or musing by magazines or newspapers however, is something known to us for generations, practiced by people of all levels of society, and commended to us for over 2,000 years, by the most authoritative compendium of human experience, the most consistent record of wise decision-making, and the most influential call to moral and ethical consideration from the highest authority humans know: God's Word to us in the Bible about his willingness to guide and lead us - particularly through the communication avenue of prayer.
Talking to God. Asking God to talk to us. To speak to us deeply about the difficult human decisions that are before us.
Yet, there it is, so simple. So open to us all. So often used by the wisest people, and the most simple people, by presidents of nations and leaders of companies.
Abraham Lincoln turned humbly to prayer. Modern presidents have done the same. So many of us have turned to prayer, and opened ourselves to God, and His wisdom of the ages.
We who are people of faith already, know this. We need to know better and better how to put this wonderful communication to work for our good, and the world's good - even if we are among the most educated, the most widely experienced, or the most go-by-gut, shoot from the hip decision-makers.
What an opportune time in our own lives and our country's life, to turn again to prayer as the greatest gift to man, for seeking out and coming to know the truth, about important things.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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