Welcome back with Reflections of an Election Heart, Round Seven.
We’ve had a bit of a break between rounds. A ‘one-minute’ hiatus to concentrate on other things, like Christmas. Not to mention the daily affairs of life being lived and laid to rest, procrastinated about or simply ignored, chased down or chased by, embraced or resisted.
It’s hard to consider (read give a hoot about) the State of the Union when you’re wrangling with the life insurance company (and no, I’m not dead yet), trying to avoid getting hit by inattentive drivers on icy roads, and nursing body aches that would love to take early retirement. In Arizona.
Meanwhile, Christmas is coming! So is the inauguration of a new President of the United States. One is confirmed in everybody’s mind. The other is still being contested even as I type. Celebration and brouhaha all in one. For some, it’s getting harder to distinguish between the two.
I happened this week to catch a TV commercial for a sitcom. In a clip for an upcoming episode one of the cast members rattled off a list of holiday fanfare and festivity, with a ‘little bit of baby Jesus thrown in.’ What was meant to be funny left a taste of sour grapes in my mouth. That’s my ‘not so baby’ Jesus you’re talking about.
The Christ of Christmas grew up. He is no longer in the manger, nor left hanging on the Tree for that matter. He occupies the Throne, over and above all. While we’re busying ourselves with holiday preparations as a reprieve from all things political, He is still performing miracles regardless of who is or isn’t occupying the Oval Office – now or come January 20, 2017.
Since Christmas is celebrated worldwide, take heart those of you who are not Americans. Though presidential influence will be brought to bear, no one trumps the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If we get the order of priority right, everything else falls into place – a place of grace on whose space and time the door has not yet closed. Soon, but not yet. That grace from two thousand years ago is still being dispensed by the hand of the Lord.
By chapter four of the Book of Acts, Peter and John were grace-fully stirring things up politically in their day.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!
If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple
and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel:
It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead,
that this man stands before you healed.1
Well, shoot. That set the stage for the following flustered conferring among the leaders …
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized
that they were unschooled, ordinary men,
they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.2
But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them,
there was nothing they could say.
So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.
“What are we going to do with these men3?” they asked.
“Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle,
and we cannot deny it.
But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people,
we must warn these men3 to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
Then they called them in again and commanded them
not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves
whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.
For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 4
Fellow believers around the globe, President-Elect Donald Trump will undoubtedly introduce much change. Regardless of which side of the voting fence you sat (real or ‘if I’d only had a vote’), what doesn’t change is the Holy Spirit is still taking that which belongs to the Father to make it known unto us, just as He did back in John and Peter’s day, and more.
The Healer still heals – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. He causes the healed to stand with those of like company where courage begets courage.
The political system can as easily stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, that is, the Christ-life of Jesus, as it can forbid the wind to blow.
…they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said,
“You made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.
You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant, our father David:
“‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together
against the Lord and against his Anointed One.’
Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel
in this city to conspire against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed.
They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.
Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word
with great boldness.
Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders
through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.5
They had been filled before, but they were filled again.6 Encouraged. Enabled. Emboldened.
It was God giving His people greater degrees of His Spirit.
May that be our prayer at Christmas and beyond. The political machine won’t know what hit it.
~ Gracefully Free
1 Acts 4:8-10, emphasis added
2 I never tire of this verse, Acts 4:13, especially because of what I related personally in Reflections of an Election Heart
3 Greek anthrōpos – a human being
4 Acts 4:13-20, emphasis added
5 Acts 4:24-31, emphasis added
6 F.B Meyer – commentary on Acts 4, after the first filling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2