Let’s not pretend, even for a minute, that God’s Word isn’t powerful, dangerous, and newsworthy.
Let’s not be shocked at the headlines, the Twitter feeds, or the backlash.
Let’s not, even for a minute, act as though reciting God’s Word in public should be greeted with the same response as quoting famous poetry or prophets or politicians. It won’t be, because it’s not just words. It is the Word of God.
Critics pounced on her with complaints ranging from the predictable charge that it violated the separation of church and state to the ridiculous claim that the fact she had to read it rather than recite it from memory indicates she’s not a good Christian.
I know nothing about the state of our First Lady’s soul but, seriously, in front of all those people, any of us might forget our own names, never mind an entire passage of Scripture.
And the separation of church and state is intended to protect the church and allow for religious freedom. The state of free speech in this nation is sorely at risk when there’s an outcry against a prayer with centuries of tradition. But none of this is the reason I write this post.
I write to remind us of what we already know. That God’s Word, the Bible, is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12b-13
God’s Word, that book collecting dust on our shelves, those letters we neglect daily – fully intending to read and absorb at some point – God’s Word is an agent of change, a riffler in the hands of the Redeemer, a catalyst for life-altering repentance, a weapon against dark forces, and a declaration of eternal truth in a world where deception has an expiration date.
There are governments in our times that fear God’s Word so much it’s outlawed in their land. And rightly so. God’s Word points to the pathway to freedom – Jesus – and when a man or woman is free, they are no longer subject to manipulation by earthly powers.
Why do we, the church, forget this truth? Why does it take an outcry against it by atheists and secular powers to remind us? Why do godless foreign rulers understand the potency of God’s Word more than His own people?
We have, in our homes and in our hands, a dispatch from glory, a directive from the Almighty, a communique from our Creator containing truth both glorious and dangerous, both poetic and powerful, both risky and redemptive.
God’s Word can ignite fire in the soul. Bring a proud man to his knees. Embolden a frightened woman under fire. Guide a nation. Redirect a felon. Start a revolution. And defend a fragile human against powers so evil it took the Son of God to defeat them.
So, let’s not be coy when we process the response to the First Lady’s prayer. These words aren’t just something we recite in our churches on Saturdays and Sundays.
These words – these words: “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’” (Matthew 6:9b-13 ESV)
– these words reframe the focus of a soul from our own will to the will of our heavenly Father. They declare our dependence on a Higher Power. They restate our plan to resist evil, not to join it.
These are powerful, dangerous, newsworthy words.
Let us remember that and let’s not just talk about them, let’s live them, today and in the days to come. Amen?
— Lori Roeleveld (@lorisroeleveld) February 19, 2017
Are you facing hard times? Are you gasping for air beside the narrow road? Here’s your help and your invitation back to the adventure. Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus) will meet you where you are and help you regain your strength to endure.