The very fact that the US Constitution establishes the principle that the government shall not establish a church reveals that government established church has an ignoble past. Recently the vitriol from some church factions towards politicians whose political and ideological principles offend their religious principles reveals an ignoble present. All this makes Sunday’s reading from 1 Timothy (2:1-7) so very relevant. Paul writes:
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.
N.T. Write notes that in the 1st century it was expected for everyone to offer tribute, or sacrifice, to the Roman Emperor, which for Jews and Christians was tantamount to making an offering to another God. What’s a good mono-theist to do? “Call down a curse on him[them] instead?” According to Paul, “No.” And Paul is not being judicious, he is practicing convenantal theology to it’s fullest. God’s desire is for all creation, all nations, people, languages, and tribes, everyone, to be reconciled to God by Jesus the Christ. That means we, as stewards of Jesus’ ministry, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is here, that we must pray for everyone, including leaders whose views are so opposed to ours. (1) And here’s the hard part, our prayers are not for them to come around to our way of thinking, our prayers are for them to come to know that God is in their lives. Discipleship is not about shifting the balance of political power, Discipleship is about sharing the Good News that “God loves you.”
1.NT Wright Twelve Months of Sundays, Morehouse, 2012