Southeastern Synod ELCA

Child of God; Dutiful Citizen

October 25, 2016

I was not quite four years old when President Richard Nixon resigned. I obviously don’t remember the event. (I didn’t start keeping up with politics until I was at least 6). What I do remember hearing about it from my parents was my grandfather’s reaction to the resignation. My Grandy cried when he heard this news.

As far I know and have been told, Grandy was not an overly emotional man. He also was neither a huge fan of Nixon nor particularly tied to either major political party. He was crying for our country and hurt because of the actions of our leader. He respected the President, and now that respect and trust was shattered.

In my fairly educated opinion (just so you know, I won my university’s History & Political Science Award as a senior), we have been on a steady downhill course in how we treat our elected leaders ever since (and probably before) Nixon’s presidency. Since I have been able to vote, I am ashamed at how the media and individuals (including myself) have treated those running for office both before and after the elections.  I have heard members of churches I have served, pastors, public servants, and just about every segment of the population say disrespectful and hateful things about those serving in leadership.  Folks who claim allegiance to both major parties have been guilty of this sort of behavior.

While this sounds like a big political article, I actually am trying to appeal to your senses as a child of God and as a dutiful citizen. As citizens, we should question our leaders; but we should not attack them because we don’t agree with their decisions. We should pray that they make wise decisions, but we should not pray or wish for any harm to come their way.

If you are unsure as to how to act, here are a couple points to ponder from some famous theologians:
“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them
1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy
2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.” –John Wesley

“We are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.” –Martin Luther

Personally, I am disappointed in who we have as our final two choices for president. I think that we, as a country, could have and should have made better decisions than we have made. This does not excuse me, however, from doing everything I can to support and pray that our leaders make the best possible decisions for our country and the world.
If you have not done so, please make sure to vote. Even more so, before, during and after the elections; please take time to pray for our nation, its leaders, and its citizens.

Peace,

Pastor Rick

Written by the Rev. Frederick C. Ohsiek, III
Pastor
St. Paul Lutheran Church
Maryville, TN