Come Out Of Hiding
Wise Leadership Is A Gift With Some Assembly Required
by Eric Elkin
It’s embarrassing to admit, but I have been avoiding the news lately. Like a child closing their eyes hoping the bad things will go away, I've been hiding. It’s almost like, if I just pretend everything is good, it will be good. At the moment, it is not working.
The chaos coming out of the White House these days is too much to bear. Leadership by impulse without a core ideological direction is unsettling. Both political parties seem to be split internally and offer little hope of a solution. There appears to be no counterbalance to the checks and balances system of government I was taught to trust. The fluctuation of the Stock Market suggests the financial world is feeling the same level of insecurity.
When these moments in my life happen, I turn to the world of sports. It is my hiding place. Nothing is more mindless than listening to a conversation about the best team in the league. Or, who is going to be this year’s most valuable player? Then there is the conversation without any end; who is the greatest of all time?
Avoidance through sports can only last so long. After Thanksgiving, our congregation brought food to a homeless tent encampment on a cold winter day. It was embarrassing to admit, but I could not tell you one fact about their plight. However, I could tell you who was leading the league in rushing and exactly why Kirk Cousins, the $84 million quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, is being treated unfairly.
Religion can offer the same kind of getaway as sports. Communities of faith can choose to focus on “happy” thoughts, instead of the social gospel. As the pastor, I can decide to take the path of least resistance just to keep everyone in a positive mood. (I should note here, there is an equal danger of becoming so political that the gospel is lost in the preaching.)
When a community of faith gets too comfortable avoiding the concerns of the political world, a reading like Psalm 72 happens to land in your lap. The psalm reminds us to pray for and expect the wise rule of our leaders. Wise leadership is not some ambiguous matter left to be determined by talk show hosts. The psalm spells it out. It involves true justice; prosperity for all; care for the poor, the weak and the needy. Most of all, wise rule must provide freedom from oppression.
There are two voices I hear emerging out of Psalm 72. The first is the obvious one, the answer to every children’s sermon, Jesus. This child, born in a manger, will teach by example what wise rule looks like in the real world. The second voice is the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America. “We the people in order to form a more perfect union will establish justice, insure domestic tranquility and promote general welfare…to ourselves and our posterity.”
Wise leadership is a gift, but it comes with some assembly required. The psalmist lets us know, it demands the prayers of the people. It also requires the people to hold the leadership accountable to the principles laid out by God. Unfortunately, there is no place to hide. If we want good government, we need to come out of hiding to make it happen.
Click to read Psalm 72: 1-14
How have you been receiving political news lately?
Have you found yourself hiding? If so, where do you hide?
If you have not been hiding, how are you engaging the world?
How can the love of Christ inform your own sense of justice?