Monday, December 17, 2012
Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Isaiah 11:1-9, Numbers 16:1-19, and Hebrews 13:7-17
Democracy might be the best form of government in the secular world, but it is not God’s choice for the Church. Today and tomorrow our Old Testament readings are about the sons of Korah. They wanted to overthrow Moses because they were unhappy with him. They wanted to elect their own leader – who wants to bet that Korah would have “selflessly” offered himself to be the new leader, “if you all insist”? It’s a sucker bet, isn’t it?
God opened the ground under their feet and it swallowed them up, and then fire from heaven fell and killed 250 more.
Not a good end to the first recorded congregational vote, is it?
We get our panties all in a wad when things go wrong and we’re quick to want to vote on it. We vote to fire the preacher. We vote to pull out of the conference. We vote to do this, to do that. We try to run our churches as democracies. Sadly, that’s not how God wants it. The men who founded our nation knew that a straight democracy was the worst way to govern a nation – it boils down to mob rule. Too often we run our churches by mob rule, too. So we’ve got a democratic republic, a government that takes the benefits of both democracy and republic and blends them together. There can be no mobs that get angry and make foolish decisions. There are checks and balances to make sure it all runs properly.
The Church isn’t a democracy. It isn’t even a democratic republic. It’s a monarchy, and Jesus Christ is the king. We don’t always get to choose who the pastor is, or who the bishop is. We don’t always get to choose when the people in places of authority over us go or stay. Instead of getting bitter about that, or trying to take matters into our own hands, we need to learn to trust God. Korah and the others were upset because they hadn’t gotten into the promised land quite as fast as they thought they should. They forgot that the reason the trip was taking so long was because of their own disobedience. How often do we cause the very problems that we’re chafing to vote down! We think getting mad and having a congregational vote will change something. But we’re fooling ourselves. God is in control, and God has placed authority over us. We need to learn to work within that framework of authority.
Ask God to help you work within the authority within which he has placed you. Ask him to help you see why he has placed you under authority. Write your own prayer.