“For unto us a child is born…
and the government shall be upon his shoulders.”
God, it’s hard to be a citizen.
At each stage of creation, you looked and said, “it is good”. You established The Promised Land as a place to live out your covenant, that you will be our God and we will be faithful as your people. Your prophets preached an ever-more enlightened governance, yearning for righteousness among kings and merchants and citizens. Then you gave us Jesus, born to us as a child but with promise of government upon his shoulders.
We give to Jesus the language of leadership: Lord, Almighty, Prince. But we keep him at arm’s length from decision-making in village, town, city, and nation. We have not learned how to lean on his shoulders and depend on his governance without causing harm, suspicion, and fear. We have abused the power that came with faith, corrupting both. We are still learning to render what is Yours, and what is Caesar’s.
Yes, you are the God of every citizen, however free. You have taught us that nothing separates us from you, no form of principality comes between us. It is with such hope that we pray.
And so, in these very days we remember efforts to suppress voting, to manipulate modern technology for political gain, to divide people by fear, to prefer identity over unity, to upend basic democracy and simple freedom.
And we remember with joy the raised purple fingers and “We Voted” stickers that grew in number, the people who overcame long lines and intimidation and threat to vote, the candidates who stepped forward with zeal in order to serve, the voters who set aside ancient prejudices to vote their hopes.
Lord God, this prayer is for every village, town, city, and nation; for every kind of governance; for every citizen. One day, may You look at us again and say, “it is good.”
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