The Presidency: A Seat Versus a Throne
The original audience for this short essay were small group leaders at Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, to help them facilitate constructive discussions in the days following the election. We hope these words will also resonate with you, and flow forth into the lives of your students and children.
“Jesus is on His throne,” is not a conciliatory statement.
It is a calibrating truth in times of success and failure.
It is a hope in times of triumph and defeat.
It is a victory cry against all His enemies and for all His friends.
It is a reminder both to those who think they are an ultimate power, and to those who are powerless.
I have had the privilege to vote in five presidential elections. I have felt the Tuesday night excitement and the Wednesday morning blues. Every election year, when someone’s preferred candidate loses, I hear someone say, “Well, at least Jesus is on His throne.”
“Jesus is on His throne,” is a comforting word, but it is not conciliatory.
It isn’t a consolation prize. It is a truth, a hope, a victory cry, and a reminder.
Some members of your small groups are very excited about the outcome of this presidential election. Others are sad, and even scared. It might be difficult to imagine someone feeling the complete opposite of the way you do, but they do, and they are likely in your group. This is part of the gift of diversity within the body of Christ. This morning, I have already heard people shout ‘hallelujah’ and others weep with sadness. Apathy is also a response that is likely present in your group. What I want to encourage is that everyone, those who feel exuberant, or disappointed, or apathetic, each would strive together to be confident and sober-minded in Jesus Christ and to be gracious to one another as the family of God.
In a prayer written for an election day years ago, Dr. Stanley Hauerwas wrote,
“Sovereign Lord, foolish we are, believing that we can rule ourselves by selecting this or that person to rule over us. We are at it again. Help us not to think it more significant than it is, but also give us and those we elect enough wisdom to acknowledge our follies.”
We need God to help us to not think it more significant than it is; that is, we need help to see things rightly. This election season brought out painful divisions on race, gender, and a host of other issues every Christian should take seriously. Therefore, the relational question we must ask is, “How are you?” The missional question is, “What can we do for the people around us?”
If someone in your group is excited, hear them.
If someone in your group is sad or scared, hear them.
If someone in your group doesn’t care at all, hear them.
And then point everyone to the truth, hope, victory, and reminder that Jesus is on His throne. Go to Him in humble and confident prayer. May we be the first to kneel before Him in loving fear and trembling.