Glory in the Face

By Mike Wilkins

The Face of Christ and the Strength to Face Anything

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  • I note, with some degree of self-approval, that I am not talking about politicians as much as I have been accustomed to. That’s because it has recently occurred to me that as I speak (and write) about “the strength to face anything,” I must include politics—and politicians—as a part of the “anything” that God gives us strength to face. “Anything” MUST include more than trusting God about personal trials and challenges related to health and family, careers and finances, friends and acquaintances, and apparently random events.

    Jesus once said (on the subject of sparrows) that “not one of them will fall to the ground apart from [our] Father.” In his time on earth, and where he was living, sparrows were selling at a price of two for a penny, and five for two [Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6] It follows then that since God the Father’s eye is on the sparrow, he must also be watching over the lives and thoughts and decisions and actions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne.

    Speaking of specific politicians, most of them these days have, in theory at least, a very high opinion of democracy. (That's what they say.) But there are, no doubt, still politicians who hold a much different view. Certainly there has been.

    Late in November of 1947, in Great Britain’s House of Commons, Winston Churchill said (quoting someone else), “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” He is also known for having said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” The great man’s evaluation of democracy, it seems, is that it is, all things considered, the best of all bad ways to run a country. Or a province.

    Another great 20th-century British man had the same sort of opinion to explain. He also did so humorously--but more insightfully. C.S. Lewis wrote, in a superb 1943 essay titled “Equality,” which is now included in a book called “Present Concerns:


    “I am a democrat [that is, an advocate of democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Jean-Jacques Rousseau [the 18th-century philosopher], who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true … I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.”


    So about me not talking so much about politicians ... what I meant is me not complaining about them. We have been given a few biblical mandates about our responsibility to civic leaders which require time and effort. Some of those mandates will at times call for talking!

    Romans 13:1,2    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    1 Timothy 2:1,2     First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

    1 Peter 2:17     Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

    Personally, I would have voted for C.S.Lewis if he had ever run for political office. (It would have been my hope that, just like Prime Minister Churchill, Professor Lewis would have continued to find time to write books.) But in keeping with what I learned about democracy from Lewis , no man or woman ever deserves a share in governing ANYTHING. Not even a chicken coop. So of course, ALL the politicians presently governing us are in great need of our prayers.

    Comment

    On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, E. Kaufmann-McLachlin said:

    I am repeatedly persuaded by the connections, alignment and fluidity of your arguments. When I did my Masters in Education, my area of study was Democratic Leadership Practices in Education and as a result I view most beliefs or events through a lens of democracy or democratic values. I have heard Churchill's borrowed quote before, but never in conjunction with Lewis. I think how you have interwoven the ideas of Churchill, Lewis and scripture provides a truly Christian framework. You have successfully reminded me how important it is to not only recognize that government is flawed, but that we, as Christians, are still called to demonstrate faith and love by focussing on God and trusting the Almighty by doing what we, as fallen individuals, are called to do to support other equally imperfect humans. I believe the basis of your argument is sound. I was forced to take a moment and reflect on the lens through which I view government. Thanks for sharing your understanding in this way. I found it helpful and sightful.

     

    On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Pringle said:

    Thanks Mike and Barry, pray don,t complain , God is in control, this is my spiritual remedial lesson for today.

     

    On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, Felker said:

    Thanks for the reminder Mike. I spend a lot of time complaining about politicians, usually quietly in my own mind, and I forget to pray for them as we are commanded in scripture.

    ~ Thanks, Barry. So now you and I are both "on the hook."

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