As believers in Jesus, we are to respectfully submit to authorities.
We can respectfully disagree with them.
We can respectfully warn them about God’s judgment on their actions.
If they tell us to cease our loving actions, we can even respectfully disobey them.
But we may not slander them, hate them or tell lies about
And we must pray for the authorities over us.
We don’t pray for their downfall, nor for their success.
Rather, we pray that they would be the kind of authorities that would bring peace to our land, so that we can peacefully speak and live out the teachings of Jesus.
O God, I am parched.I am barely able to move, my need is so deep. Yes, I move in the world, I eat, I drink, I converse. But my body is hollow; my soul is mourning its loss. My God, why have you forsaken us? I already know there is no hope on earth for us.Why are the needy forsaken? Why do children pick through garbage for food? Why do the simple have no one to support them? Babies hanging on empty breasts; wraith souls brutally violated; men wandering: hearthless, hopeless, frenzied, friendless. They cry to you, and pour their hearts to you and they are silenced by death, even while living. Why are the weak only granted more weakness? Why are the mourning gifted ever more sorrow?And the powerful obtain more power. “Look at my sorrow, observe my need,” say those who horde the resources of this world as a toddler who insists that the whole of the world is his own plaything. They offer a drop of water to the desperate and keep an ocean to themselves, never declaring “enough.” Why do the sightless insist that compassion is fruitless? Why do the powerful harden their hearts to the helpless?My God, how do you remain silent? How does heaven remain barred, allowing the foolishly satisfied to claim that all is right in the world? I am starving from your silence. The god-speakers (but not do-gooders) insist that there is peace, peace, yet they do not step outside of their golden palaces long enough to see the sickness, poverty and death. How long will you allow them to speak of your kingdom already come when destruction, despair and disdain reign? How long will you allow them to speak of the miracle of democracy and capitalism, when billions of souls are the cost upon which the society is built? How dare you remain silent! Damn their blasphemies! Entwine their pseudo-god-speak with a millstone and cast them into the deepest lake of fire!How dare you? How dare you allow these dealers of synthetic theology speak while you remain silent? How dare you allow generation after generation fall while the fat and sassy build themselves up, using your name so casually, so faithlessly? Have you no pride?But I… my feet come close to stumbling. How easy it is to see a world entombed, and to fail to see the coming consummation. Yours is the power. Yours is the glory. Yours is the kingdom. If only I could enter into your patience. It is so hard to welcome long suffering when children shiver in the cold and are beaten into becoming the next generation of evil-doers. It is difficult to wait.I know, Lord. I know you have given me everything good. I know that your heart is with the needy. You understand that when your sorrows overwhelm you it is hard to be grateful. You have experienced all of our temptations. I am not thankless, my Father. But we are in need of restoration and resurrection. No economic system, no governmental ideal will grant it to us. Only your love.
We are so parched, my Lord. Satisfy us with your love. Let mercy flood this world, until we drown in it. Allow your compassion to cover our heads, until we cease struggling in its watery depths. Let us finally rest.
Based on Psalm 73, originally published on Mustard Seed Associates website: http://godspace.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/a-lenten-reflection-by-steve-kimes/
It’s been a tough week
It seems that not only I, but the whole world feels it
We are wearing out, the world and I
Teach us both, Father that in You is rest
And that there is peace in no other.
When I take the time to rest in You
Allow me to sense your presence
Your warmth surrounding me:
Let me settle into Your strength
As we were talking I noticed a man about my age maybe a little younger, who was Vietnamese, glancing towards us and looking very uncomfortable. A short time later my friend went on his way and I stayed to finish my Mocha. I glanced again over at the Vietnamese fellow and he was now staring at me. I turned to him and in all humbleness, asked if he had fought in the war?
At that question his fear swept over him. I continued and said, “Hey the war was over and we were both just kids. I hold no ought against you.”
We began to talk in earnest and I discovered he was with a North Vietnamese Regiment. A regiment that our company had many encounters with. He had lost friends and family members and I had held many young men gasping with dying breaths for their mothers. We both acknowledged that we both carry the burdens of nightmares. But what we also found was that we had found worlds apart; was the Salvation and forgiveness through Christ Jesus.
After he had found Christ and deliverance he was forced to flee for his life and eventually ended up here in Portland, Oregon to start over.
So here we are: two Vietnam Veterans who fought against each other in the Dance of Death, both not having known Jesus the Christ and both having found Him and now facing each other and united in the blood shed for both of them.
Is this not the power of God being manifested? That two enemies become brothers and find forgiveness not only through their mutual faith, but face to face, in a coffee shop in southeast Portland.
Post Script: His name is Tran Van Ho. This story is from June 2005
Here is a wagon:
I think it looks pretty cool. If you look at it close you can see that it was made personally. Makes me wonder what it’s for: a trailer for a bike? An outdoor storage place?
Oh, look: there’s a note on it
So it was actually someone’s home. And people kept calling the police on him, even though it was legal for him to sleep in this kind of a home. The harassment made him decide that it wasn’t worth having a roof over his head. Maybe he was a bit paranoid. Or maybe someone in the neighborhood didn’t want his kind in their neighborhood. That’s pretty sad.
It’s sad because people in houses can’t seem to get along with people without houses, and the other way around, too.
It’s sad because those who have and those who don’t should be able to get along, at least to live in the same neighborhood.
It’s sad because we are supposed to be a land of freedom, but we can’t seem to find the will to live and let live.
It’s sad because we are so scared of each other, of what might happen, that we have to separate one from another, without even talking out our disagreements.