Thursday, January 22nd

King Solomon was king over all Israel, and these were his high officials: Azariah son of Zadok was the priest; Elihoreph and Ahijah sons of Shisha were secretaries; Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud was recorder; Benaiah son of Jehoiada was in command of the army; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; Azariah son of Nathan was over the officials; Zabud son of Nathan was priest and king’s friend; Ahishar was in charge of the palace; and Adoniram son of Abda was in charge of the forced labor.  Solomon had twelve officials over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household; each one had to make provision for one month in the year. 1 Kings 4:1-7


Once again I’ll begin by saying that it is difficult to draw direct connections between the biblical monarchy model of government and the modern democracy in the United States.  And no, I’m not suggesting that Barak Obama is God’s chosen one in the same way that 1 Kings tells us Solomon was.  But I am thinking all week about what has happened in our country this week and wondering about the ways that faith fits in.


Americans, maybe everyone, but certainly Americans, are prone to fall prey to the “cult of personality.”  We forget that the real world is about human beings using their talents to exchange goods (food they raise and things they make) and services to sustain their lives.  Hollywood is a vehicle for advertising those goods and services.  Celebrities are illusions.  Movies are just movies.  Sports are, at best, entertainment.  We been conditioned to love all of this stuff.  That’s probably not all bad but it does have a tendency to blind us to reality.


The inauguration of Barak Obama (and his election, and the next four years of his presidency) are not about him.  He isn’t a new “star” but an elected leader.  He might be the tip of the iceberg but the new regime is much bigger than just him.  It isn’t just President Bush who is out of a job but thousands of other staff and support people, not just in Washington, DC, but all around the country.  I’ve never met President Obama and probably never will, but my gut sense is that he would be the first to tell you that it isn’t about him, nor would he believe that “governing” is something he could do alone.


1 Kings tells us that Solomon likewise didn’t govern alone.  The various officials and their responsibilities are listed here in the 4th chapter.  It is their moment in the sun.  But their real work, the real work of governing, had everything to do with the direction and the effectiveness of Solomon’s reign. In the same way, while the administration has changed and thus many positions will change, most of those who work in the federal government will just continue doing the work they have been doing.


That is where the problem of blindness steps in – we can focus so intently on the “star” that we ignore, are blind to, or never hear about all of the other shenaningans that happen behind the scenes, done or allowed by people whose names we will never know.  Thus the need for integrity, honesty and diligence at every single level, for every single servant, and the corresponding need for trust, informed interest, and a demand for accountability from the governed.


The real point is that government is an aspect of a life shared in community with a broader reach.  Therefore it is about us, only about us, not about “us and them.”  Everyone has a part, plays a role, and matters to the whole.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we pray today for all of those people whose lives have been affected one way or another by the change in our national leadership.  May those displaced find meaningful work.  May those selected for new positions of leadership do their jobs well.  May we come together as a community to live lives that are full and free, and to address the real issues that diminish lives and deny justice.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


2 Responses to “Thursday, January 22nd”

  1. Jeanne English Says:

    FYI, Barack is spelled with a “ck”. Thanks for your always meaningful devotions!

  2. revkerry Says:

    Oops. Guess I should pay better atention 🙂

    Thank you and I’ll be more careful in the future. Kerry

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