september 19, 2013

 

This week’s devotional addresses Constitution Day, September 17, as mandated by the U.S. Congress.

John Hanson, America’s first president under the Articles of Confederation (his actual title was “President of the United States in Congress Assembled”) was a stanch supporter of the people’s right to rule themselves without the aid of a King. When the Constitutional Congress met to begin the task to “form a more perfect union,” the result was the development of the Constitution of the United States. The resulting articles established the branches of government, the relations of states to each other and the federal government, the amendment process, national debts, and the ratification process. Since ratification on September 17, 1787 there have been twenty-seven amendments to help craft this piece of legislation based on rule by the people. The complete text can be found at http://www.usconstitution.net/const.pdf.

Americans have served, voted, pledged, fought, debated, and died for the Constitution. Interestingly, the word “democracy” does not appear once in the Constitution, nor does the word “civility.” Indeed, the only usage of the word “Lord” is in the signage of the date. The document is organizational, not theological. However, the framers operated from a Judeo-Christian faith that permeated the American culture. Indeed, this foundation was still evidenced by Alexis de Tocqueville as he stated, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” He further noted that such (Christian) faith was to “purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality.”

The Constitutional lesson then is that a government founded upon rule by the people is only as good as those people.
The need for people of faith in Christ Jesus to be active in government service is of greater importance in such a government. Indeed, the Bible does say a few things to help us in our relationships with and in government. As you read the verses below, pause to pray for our nation, our political servants, and those serving in the military to defend our liberties.

“Jesus answered [Pilate], ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.’” (John 19:11)

“Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.’” (Mark 12:17)

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:1-4)

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

“Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

May we be the best examples of American citizens as we exercise our rights under the Constitution.
May we be the best examples of heavenly citizens as we live, pray, and serve under the Lordship of Christ.

Grace and peace be yours through Christ Jesus,

Micheal Summers
Director of Church Services / Assistant Professor of Religion / Assistant Director of Ministry Guidance