Wednesday, April 10

Oh My

In your strength the king rejoices, O Lord, and in your help how greatly he exults!
You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.
Ps. 21:1-2

Oh my. I am stricken with thoughts of what the world might look like if God were to grant the longings that lie within the hearts of those who hold power, and fashioned each nation according to the desires that pour forth from each ruler's lips. Ideally there would be some countries where this might result in children being fed and educated, in the poor being granted access to healthcare, in fewer incarcerations and the elimination of capital punishment, in adherence to the scriptural demand that strangers and refugees be welcomed and treated justly. Such nations really do exist, because those who hold sway there desire justice and equality.

But what would my nation look like if the one in charge of it were granted the desires of his heart? Never before in the history of this republic has its ruler's heart been so on display, and the images conjured by these desires are far from pleasant. The pictures painted by requests of his lips are no prettier.

Perhaps I need to make this psalm strictly messianic, and bless God for ordering the world according to the heart and prayers of Christ. And this is a valid interpretation. But it's no less valid—and no less necessary—to read psalms like this one as portraying God's ideal for earthly governors. And it is this latter interpretation that will guide my prayers today.

May the rulers of the earth be more like Christ, O God: loving those who cannot afford to buy favor, granting equal justice to all, caring for the downtrodden, and honoring you in their hearts, their words, their deeds, and their policies. I pray this in the Name of the One who taught me to pray for the coming of your perfect Reign: Our Father...

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