How should Christians relate to government?
The apostle Paul had an ambivalent relationship to the government of his time. Expecting the imminent return of Jesus, Paul saw himself as a citizen of heaven, but on the other hand, he was not loathe to claim his Roman citizenship to avoid mistreatment at the hand of local provincial authorities. Further, he insists that followers of Jesus are to abide by the authorities under which they live.
In Romans he writes, " 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. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 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; 4 for it is God’s servant for your good (Romans 13:1-4).
Unlike Paul, our authorities are us. In the United States we are governed by a representative democracy which requires us to vote for our leaders. We are responsible for exercising authority.
This presidential election has left us soured. We may not like any of the choices that are offered. We may be tempted to stay home. Don't. We are needed by God to choose righteous leaders. As followers of Jesus, we will witness to the power of reconciliation to heal division.
To begin that process, St. Stephen's is offering prayer at noon on Election Day. Following our prayer, we invite you to bring a lunch and share in discussion about our hopes for our country.
Let's do good and vote.
The Reverend Lisa Hunt