Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Redemption of America

Psalm 25 ends with this interesting line: "Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles!"

Surely many American Christians prayed something like that in the days surrounding the mid-term elections: "Redeem America, O God, from all their troubles!"

If only we could get the right men and women elected into key executive, judicial and legislative offices, we could turn this nation around. We could return America to what it used to be, a great beacon of hope and Christian light to the world.

Or not.

What I find most interesting about this Psalm is that it begins with a very personal note: "In you (not elected officials), LORD my God I (a monarchial King with absolute power) put my trust." He goes on to pen these words: "Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

I don't suppose God has any problem hearing our prayers about rescuing America from its sinful ways, as long as we are also partnering our prayers with plenty of listening and learning time. God can only show me my way and teach me my path if I stop long enough to listen, and go slow enough to implement it.

If you want your country to become something else, then do your part by walking with God; and by helping your friends and family walk with God. And then let God use you to answer the prayers of the oppressed and victims of injustice. For those who are being put to shame, beg God to let you be the one he uses to defend them against "those who are treacherous without cause". Maybe you'll then get involved in politics, or economics, or construction, or agriculture, or theology, or the arts for noble reasons.

Christianity's biggest fault in America is our disconnection between loving a real God with real humans. We focus too much on an idealized God and faceless humanity. Our love for God is revealed in our love for the humans around us, in our home, in our work, in our county, in our world. To the degree that you do or don't give love (look to 1Corinthians 13 to unpack that definition) to humans, so to God. We focus on great worship of God, but then instead of turning around and helping the poor and oppressed, we commit our ways to greater financial security and prosperity.

"My eyes are ever on the LORD (really?),
for only he will release my feet from the snare (who me? decieved? no way, I'm so much different then Adam and Eve...)."

So we pray with David, humbly and hope-fully: "Turn to me and be gracious to me...relieve the troubles of my heart...and take away all my sins...guard my life and rescue me...redeem [all my fellow citizens]...from all their troubles."

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