O root of Jesse, standing as an ensign before the peoples, before whom all kings are mute, to whom the nations will do homage; Come quickly and deliver us.
Religion and politics. Nothing in our world seems to be more quickly divisive. Everyone has an opinion … and most of them are wrong … I know you aren’t supposed to say it, but we do all think it from time to time. Getting together with family and friends at this time of year means having lots of conversations, many of which will fall inevitably into religion or politics. Lord deliver us from the shallow and intolerant opinions of those we love and otherwise care for!
And have you ever noticed that complain as we like about the government of the day (municipal, provincial, or federal – it doesn’t matter much as one of them is likely offending you in some way) we still all must answer their call. Complain about taxes all you want but you still have to pay them. Gripe about the system, but you still must play within the rules. Maybe it will be better after the next election.
God has the same deal. You don’t always have to like what He says, or agree with His policies, but in the end you will still play by His rules … even if only after you’ve already forfeited the game. Sadly this is a truth that even Mr. Hitchens has now found out. What God says is what will be, no matter how much you might like to argue. There is no free vote here – you won’t get a better leader next time around. You couldn’t find one no matter how hard you tried.
And the banner of all the Deity’s policies, the spearhead of His action plan is descendent of the royal line of David, God in the flesh – Jesus. An ensign before all peoples. But as with all great leaders, a lightening rod for debate and acrimony. Yet Jesus did not come to debate, He did not come to exclude or belittle or to cause discomfort at family Christmas parties. He came to deliver us from sin death and the devil. He came to deliver us from a world that would put itself, yourself, anything else in His place. And that He did by dying on the cross. And by rising again to Life on the third day He silenced His detractors once and for all. You may not like the idea of being beholden to the love and mercy of a crucified and risen Lord, but when He returns your knee will bow as surely as mine will. And until that joyous day I will continue to hope and pray that we will be on the same side of the conversation.
O come, Thou Branch of Jesse’s tree, Free them from satan’s tyranny That trust Thy mighty power to save, And give them vict’ry o’er the grave. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!