“For the king delivers the poor who cry out in distress, the oppressed, those who have no hope. He has compassion on the lowly and poor, and preserves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their lives, and precious is their blood in his sight.” (Psalm 72:12-14, ELW)
As our preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth continues, we who have pledged our allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would do well to remember the psalmist’s description of the king’s duties. All too often, human rulers seek to use their power and influence for their own gain, but Jesus is the perfect king – at least by God’s standards! His concern is for the poor and oppressed, the lowly and needy, for victims of violence and exploitation, and he regards their lives as infinitely precious. The reign we await is one in which our divisions cease, the mighty are brought low, and the lowly are lifted up, so that all might recognize the surpassing greatness of God’s mercy and love. Where our own rulers fall short, let us pray that God would guide them to embody justice and righteousness. Where they seek to uphold God’s standards for leadership that serves all in need, let us give thanks to God for wise and faithful government.
Lord Jesus, the government is on your shoulders, yet in this “in-between time” it falls to earthly leaders to guide and guard us and our fellow citizens. Grant surpassing wisdom and compassion to those who have been elected to lead our community, state, and nation, that they might exercise their authority in accordance with your good and gracious will, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
– Pastor Andrew Chavanak, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), Falls City