Exodus 33:12-23 and Psalm 99
Isaiah 45:1-7 and Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13)
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Peace be with you!
Being a Christian is difficult because we are torn between two realities: our world and God’s world. We spent our days in a society, especially if you are in America, where the word god is almost prohibited in public spaces. As Americans and Christians, we have [at least I do] a fear of offering individuals who do not believe in our Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
When questioned if we should pay taxes to the emperor (Matthew 22:17), Jesus says, “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21). God understands we live in the world, and in order to survive we need the participant in the world on a sub-toxic level.
In Westmoreland, Tennessee, coaches are not allowed to bow their heads during student-led prayers before football games (Morgenstem 2011). The coaches respect the school district’s decision to have them not bow their heads during student-led prayers. However, the coaches should know that bowing their heads during any prayer is not needed to participate in the prayer. Their presence during student-led prayers still gives honor to God while still respecting the government.
In United States of America, the Supreme Court ruled the Ten Commandments could not be displayed in public schools or in Kentucky’s county courthouses, but they could be displayed on Texas’ capitol grounds. Each case of displaying the Ten Commandments is reviewed individually and determined if the purpose is religious or non-religious. The First Amendment does protect the display of the Ten Commandments on the private property. The government cannot appear to have any religious bias (Anti-Defamation League 2011). And honestly I love how we have the freedom to worship as we wish privately. I am proud to be an American who exercises her religious freedom with honor and respect.
We have all heard about the high school students not being able to pray at the graduation, so one student sneezes and they all say “God bless you.” In Texas, the State Supreme Court ruled high school students could say prayers during their graduation, if they changed it to a “statement of faith” (Ball 2011).
I am proud to be an American who enjoys her religious freedom and respect the other faith traditions. I enjoy inter-faith conversations and think they should happen more often. I also enjoy the fact that God allows us to live in the world. We are allowed to take part in our government and be involved in its decision process.
Yet God also calls us to be faithful to him. Even though we are allowed to live in the world, we are not to idolize anyone or anything but the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And the benefits of only idolizing God are amazing. First, God promises to never forsaken us, which was demonstrated to us through Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. The world (friends, family, the government, etc) have a tendency of forsaking us during difficult times. But God promises what seems like the impossible, yet he demonstrates his loyalty and love to us on a daily basis through Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection (Schmit 2011).
Second, since we belong to God, we belong to the people of God – the body of Christ (Schmit 2011). Through our baptism, we are born into the fellowship of the body of Christ. Any alienation is due to our own fault when we turn our backs on God. And when we return, God is always there with open arms. Third, we give ourselves to the Triune God because we belong to him. We give ourselves through worship when we go to church, when we pray privately, and when we do service during our daily work. Our lives are for God’s purpose; he lives through us.
We belong to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for allowing us to be apart of the world. Help us to remember we belong to us and not to idolize anyone or anything but you. Thank you for allowing us to belong to you. Amen.
Anti-Defamation League. The Ten Commandments Controversy: A First Amendment Perspective . 2011. http://www.adl.org/religious_freedom/resource_kit/ten_commandments.asp (accessed 2011 йил 2-October).
Ball, Linda Stewart. Court Rules Prayers Can Be Said At Texas High School Graduation. 2011 йил 3-June. http://www.urbanchristiannews.com/ucn/2011/06/breaking-prayers-to-be-allowed-at-texas-high-school-graduation.html (accessed 2011 йил 2-October).
Morgenstem, Madeleiene. High School Coaches in Trouble for Bowing their Heads during Student-Led Prayer in Tennessee. 2011 йил 25-September. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/high-school-coaches-in-trouble-for-bowing-their-heads-during-student-led-prayer-in-tenn/ (accessed 2011 йил 2-October).
Schmit, Clayton. Matthew 22:15-22. June 5, 2011. http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?lect_date=10/16/2011 (accessed October 16, 2011).
Please feel free to answer the reflective questions through comments. Please agree to disagree and be respectable to each other. Please take a moment, if you have not already, to sign the covenant. You can answer all or just one of the questions.
1. How to you participant in the world?
2. How do you belong to God?