Providence values being a light for Jesus in the midst of darkness. How we respond during this political season can draw people to the light of Jesus or repel them away. Our friend Peter Scazzero did a great job articulating important steps that we uphold in this election season. We hope this will be a strong guide for you whether in person or online.
–Pastor Phil Carnuccio
Wise Political Engagement. Is it Possible?
What does faithful political engagement look like as Christ-follower in the midst of the divisive, harsh, and acrimonious election year in which we find ourselves in the USA? My concern is that we not allow the world’s pressure to form us, but rather that we respond in a way that reflects and honors Jesus.
In 1981, I spent three months in the Philippines during a time when the church found itself divided over the increasingly repressive dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. Some Christians vigorously opposed the government and were on the streets protesting and going to jail; others supported Marcos wholeheartedly. A very few others had decided to take up arms (taking cues from the insights of liberation theology).
While the environment was fiercely anti-American, I was blessed to be visiting as an IVCF staff worker and allowed to listen in on their theological reflections in the midst of their highly charged, political environment. It was life-changing for me and has shaped me to this day.
I offer a few of the insights God gave me through our Filipino brothers and sisters wrestling together on a biblical response during a time of great crisis.
They can be summed in 5 invitations to us:
This is our role with the government. Our first loyalty is to Jesus and His kingdom – not to any political party. If the government, for example is on the right, we may find ourselves on the left (as was the case of the Philippines during that time). If the government is on the left, we may find ourselves on the right. As Christ-followers, we can never completely align ourselves with one political party.
Be Value Driven.
We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and bear witness to issues on God’s heart. God has a passionate concern for the poor and marginalized, the unborn, the aged, along with the mentally and physically challenged. So must we. Racism and injustice diminish human beings made in His image. We advocate for just laws, opportunities, and systems. Care for the planet, working for peace, and strong support for biblical, healthy marriages between men and women are on our agenda as well. You can add to this list.
We love all human beings made in God’s image, called to bless and affirm that glory in people. So we don’t participate in gossip, name-calling, slander, and murder with our tongues (or on the internet - add this?). We seek to be a good gift to others as people who have been deeply loved and forgiven. So, in our discussion with others around “difficult” issues, we aim to season our comments with grace and generosity.
God commands us to pray for those in authority over us, regardless of their political views, that they might be filled with wisdom and they might experience God’s blessings. So we discipline ourselves to actually do that, inviting others to join us in that process.
We invite people to not fear, offering a global, historical, and biblical perspective. “Things have never been worse,” a person recently told me, his voice filled with fear and angst. That is not true. World War II was worse (almost 60 million people died). So was World War I. Imagine living through, for example, Stalin’s purges that killed millions, the Cultural Revolution in China, and the Black Death that killed ¼ of Europe in the 13th century! Our God is the Lord God Almighty. History is in His hands. We can rest in Him.
Virtual Prayer Room
Corporate Prayer for Tuesdays
Based on Daniel 2:20-23/ Matt 6:9-13:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong all wisdom and might.”
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.”
“He changes times and seasons;
He removes kings and sets up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.”
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
“He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.”
“Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
(Take time to give personal requests for areas of needed wisdom/discernment)
“Besides this you know the time has come for you to wake from sleep.”
(SAY TOGETHER: “Wake me from my sleep.”)
“For salvation is nearer to us (me) now than when we (I) first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand.”
“Help me to remain focused upon Your goodness and your gospel.”
“So let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
“Reveal to me the areas in my life that are not pleasing to You.”
(Spend time in Personal confession)
“To you God of my (our) fathers, I (we) give thanks and praise,
For you have given me (us) wisdom and might”
We trust you to make known to us what we ask of you...
Offer Broad Requests for areas of needed wisdom and discernment as intercessors for:
- His Church: Titus 3:1-2 As your people, remind us to be “submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show courtesy to ALL people.”
Jeremiah 29:7 “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile. And pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare...v.11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
- Our country: 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then I urge that supplications, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, (insert candidates names) that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
- The World: Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
“Help us live and speak your message to your world, God”
“For God sent not His Son into the World to condemn the world but that the world through him may be saved.” John 3:17
The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’
And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let the one who is thirsty come;
Let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
(SAY TOGETHER: “Come Lord Jesus!”)
“For Thine is the kingdom
Thine is the Power
Thine is the glory
Forever and ever.