Sunday, October 18, 2015

Whatever happens tomorrow...

By this time tomorrow we should know the results of our 42nd federal election. The outcome is uncertain, the polls say what they say but the only one that matters is the final ballot count. No matter the result there will be winners and losers, those rejoicing, those commiserating. 

This election showed how deeply divided our country is in some regards. There was more vilifying the other guy and little talk about working together. Many people have trouble cutting through the noise and figuring out who to cast their vote for. Many are voting simply for change or because of a single issue. Regardless of who any one person votes for and why, when the votes are tallied, we will have our answer. What should our reaction be to the outcome? 

As people of faith, we must look to scripture for guidance to our reaction to the final outcome. We must understand that there is no party that is God's divine choice and no party that is devil incarnate. No matter who is elected they will do things we agree with and don't agree with. We must also recognize that we cannot legislate morality. The right laws will not usher in God's kingdom, or bring His divine favour upon us. We are far beyond the days of being a Christian nation, if we ever truly were. We are a minority but that's not a bad thing, it actually puts the verses below closer to our present context.

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. -1 Timothy 2:1-3

13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. - 1 Peter 2:13-14

These two passages tell us to pray for and submit to the rulers over us. 1 Timothy 2 tells us to pray for those over authority over us so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness. We are to pray for our leaders not so they implement the policies we want them to but so that we might live in an ordered and peaceful society, so we can live our lives in ways others see our lives and may be saved. 

Peter tells us to submit to human authority which may not be easy at times and there will certainly be times we still need to stand up for what is right, but no matter how bad we think our leader might be, we must remember the emperor of Peter's day was Nero. No matter what you think of any of our federal leaders, none of them compares to Nero. 

The truth is, we will not find salvation in the polls. Our hope is not found in the leaders of the world. Our hope is in Christ alone and until He comes to set all things right, let's remember to pray for and submit to whomever is elected tomorrow. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion

I'm a big fan of history, especially history related to biblical studies. I'm also a big fan of making that history interesting and accessible. You don't need to be a scholar to really get what the Bible is saying but some background can fill in. A great resource I read recently was "A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion" by Gary Burge. By piecing together a plausible back story to story found in Matthew and Luke of Jesus healing a centurion's servant Burge gives us a window into what life was like in the first century.

Along with the main narrative, the book is filled with sidebars that provide additional insights into specific topics such as clothing, military structure, transportation and more. These helpful sidebars give the reader the opportunity to dive deeper into the background of the day. This gives the book a nice balance between novel and textbook. If you're looking for a way to get a little deeper into the background of the gospels, check out this book.