The Apostle Peter writes: “Respect everyone. Love the community of believers. Have reverence for God. Honor your ruler.” (I Peter 2:17 The Voice) The Bible teaches us that God’s special anointing is upon the leadership of God’s people. They have a calling from god and carry a holy responsibility. I believe that God uses our human institutions as God seeks to bring blessings into the lives of all people. Our God does not work from a perspective of fear, but from a perspective of hope for the world.
When George Washington was inaugurated President, April 30, 1789, Bishop Francis Asbury presented a congratulatory address to the new president. Bishop Asbury wanted to assure the new president that the people called Methodist would be holding him in their prayers. They believe that God was doing a new thing in their lives and they had hope for this new land.
On January 20, 2009 President Barack Obama will take his oath of office. This historical event will follow the national celebration of the birthday of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. and will be another step in the fulfillment of the dream of our nation, where we will not judge people by the color of their skin, but by the greatness of their character. This is a time of great hope at a time of great need. There will be no easy answers for the problems we must face in the days ahead and no president can solve our problems for us. As God’s beloved children we are going to need to work together to bring healing to this land.
There have been those who have expressed fears about the changes that have come to our nation. There are those who want us to be afraid of this new day. There have been those who have said unkind things about our new president. We need to put all fear and unkindness aside. We love this nation, and perfect love casts out all fear. As Americans, we have been blessed so we can be a blessing to the world. Not only has God enabled us to find solutions to our own problems but given us the opportunity to use what we discover to help so many others. Fear helps no one, not even ourselves. It is the hope that God places in our hearts that brings not only life, but also a life of true spiritual abundance.
As a people called United Methodists, once again we need to offer our prayers to our new President. It does not matter who you voted for or what political party you belong to, we all need God to use President Barack Obama to bring blessings to our world. We will all benefit if God will give him wisdom and surround his life with Godly advisors. We will all benefit if God can use his leadership in bringing peace in our world. As Christians we are called to show our new leader honor, in doing so we show respect tot eh God who called him to this office. Our God is doing a new thing. Let us join together and encourage the hope that comes with a new day. Let us pray for a new spirit of cooperation. Let us pray for a new creativity that will help us live healthier ways.
Bishop Peggy A. Johnson