Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inaugural Prayers

The Trump Inaugural has announced the people who will leading in prayer - sixty to ninety seconds each which will cut down on the sermonizing while praying. There will be several Christians and one Rabbi. One woman. One man who is the self acclaimed leader of the largest African American "congregation" of which many may be listeners or viewers. The woman espouses what has been called the Prosperity Gospel which means that God wants to bless you with riches. She points out that those who give generously first to her ministry will gain God's greater blessings.

One man who will be praying is the son of Billy Graham, Franklin Graham. Billy Graham was a great friend of presidents and his friendship was used by some like Nixon for political advantage. Billy Graham was said to be shocked when the Nixon tapes appeared. He admitted to being naive. Franklin has stepped into his father's shoes. He said God intervened in our election and made Trump president. So, it wasn't just Putin. God put a halt to the atheistic, godless swamp that Obama, Hillary and Bill and others who are not conservative evangelicals were leading us further into. Like Trump Franklin sees this as a "drain the swamp" moment under the supervision of God.

Taken aback by the arrogance of someone who claims to know the will of God in our national election, I returned to Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address. It bears reading as we inaugurate our new president. In the midst of our nation's civil war Lincoln acknowledged that both sides read the same Bible, prayed to the same God with each side invoking God's aid against the other. The Almighty has his own purposes, said Lincoln. It may be God so willed this horrible war to measure out his justice and it may be that God wills it to continue until, 'the judgments of the LORD," are fulfilled. Lincoln did not know what God was going to do. He did know as he said another time that it was more important to be on God's side that to assume to know He is on our side.

I don't know if the election means God answered Trump's prayers or Hillary's. Obviously, Trump won. But God's purposes are vast and far beyond my understanding. Already, voices in the church are waking up and sounding an alarm that certain works of justice cannot be assumed in a Trump presidency and there is work in the trenches to do. That's a good thing.

I don't pretend to know what God's will is in terms of our election. But, I do know what Jesus said at his inauguration.

"The Spirit of the LORD is upon me to preach good news to the poor, and to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free and to proclaim the year of the LORD"S favor."  (Luke 4:18-19)

Consider again the closing words of Lincoln's address: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace among ourselves and all nations."  That may rightly be said to be the will of the LORD.

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