First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The catechism reading for last week was directed to those who serve in civil government.This week the target of Luther’s admonition is those who hold the holy office of citizen. Luther utilizes one text from Holy Scripture to address rulers but five for those who are governed. Rulers are to remember that their rule is really a stewardship of God’s care and order for society and the world. The governed are reminded that those who rule are a gift from God.
Receiving the gift of civil government moves the faithful to pray for those who rule. Praying for everyone obviously means that we exclude no one. This was not an easy thing for those first Christians to do. They saw their friends and family dragged into coliseums throughout the Roman Empire where they were tortured and sacrificed. Instead of calling for Christians to revolt, Paul urges those Christians to pray for the very leaders who persecuted them.
We hesitate to pray for politicians who are revealed to be corrupt and immoral in both their public and personal lives. But there is a very good reason for us to pray even for unbelieving, immoral rulers: so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. That peace serves the Gospel. Leading peaceful and quiet lives allows us to speak the Gospel of peace to all. We quietly tell people that their hope is never in man or the rulers of men. We speak the truth that salvation is found in no Name other than the name of Jesus. We bring people to the preaching of the Word and the washing of water and the Word. We teach that the Body and Blood of Jesus is truly present for forgiveness of sins in the Holy Supper. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, as You have established all temporal authority for our blessing, to reward the good and punish those who do evil, bless those who hold public office in our land that we may live in peace with all godliness. Teach us to honor and respect those who hold office and to receive them as gifts of your gracious hand. Uphold all in public office, that they may execute their duties faithfully and diligently, in the fear of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch