By Ann Osburn
Oaths. Traditions. Formalities. Ceremonies. Parades.
Today we witnessed a new president taking the oath of office, and the peaceful transition between two presidents, two vice-presidents, and two political parties.
Maybe you aren’t old enough to vote yet. But perhaps you have political leanings already—whether you think along Democrat, Independent, or Republican lines, you were able to watch history in the making today. It’s only happened 45 times, after all.
Did you notice the ceremony today? Without going into too many specifics, it began with an invocation and closed with a benediction. The House and Senate chaplains prayed before and after the inaugural luncheon in the Capitol. The name of God was definitely invoked several times.
It’s important to maintain some church and state separation, and it’s prudent for us to be responsible citizens in both realms. Just as we take the time to learn the Ten Commandments and God’s Word, we should also read how the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch and learn how the Bill of Rights safeguards our freedom of religion, right to vote, and reserves rights to the states and people.
As this day comes to a close, what really changed at noon today? Emotions may have run high as you watched a helicopter take a former president away, heard about rioters, and saw a motorcade with significant security escort families who walked together and waved to onlookers. As easy as it can be to come down on one side of the fence or the other, our places in life remain largely unchanged.
Let’s get a little perspective from the Small Catechism’s Table of Duties:
Of Civil Government:Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1)
It is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. (Romans 13:5-6)
So, we continue to respect governing authorities, pray for our president and leaders, and love and serve our neighbors.
A lot of people fulfilling their vocations made today’s events possible: law enforcement, moving teams, members of the military, pilots, chefs, elected officials, cleaning crews, photographers, and more. Whether they recognized it or not, all were using their God-given talents to ensure the day and this time of transition of responsibility went as smoothly as possible.
We are blessed to live in this country, where we can celebrate inaugurations with all the oaths, traditions, formalities, ceremonies, and parades, as one nation under God.
It’s a good time to pray for our nation (LSB page 313):
Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen
Ann Osburn has Political Science, Public Relations, and Education majors, and serves as the Marketing Executive for Higher Things.