Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, we can - Obama: Yes, I Have - Jesus

Today is a new day in the history of mankind. Against all the odds, against the weight of history,
an African American, Barack Hussein Obama - yes we can - is now President elect of the only remaining superpower in the world. In a few short weeks, all authority of the American state will be vested in the hands and mind of this remarkable young man. What will he do with all of this power? How will the American people respond to the challenges he gave them in in his victory speech last night? How will the world respond to the his assurances that those who threaten America will be defeated, and those who offer the hand of peace will find in him, an ally. Will there be any change for us in the Caribbean, and in particular for us here in Jamaica, a nation under siege from "kidnapping and murderous gunmen".
As I watched the tears streaming down the faces of black and white folks alike last night, my mind went back to Harriet Tubman, that great American heroine who organised the " Underground Railway" - piloting slaves from Confederate South to freedom in Union North; back to Martin Luther King - the great civil rights leader, whose oratory and commitment to non -violent change, both combined to produce one of the great human beings of this century; back to Jack and Bobby Kennedy whose flames burned brightly for a while, and who both offered America and indeed the world so much hope. And a now a bright young man, standing on the shoulders of these giants, who embodies the hopes and aspirations of great men and women, now ascends to power in America - the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yes we can indeed.
But as much as I celebrated last night, and shared a special time in history with my son and my wife - can you believe that my daughter fell asleep - and woke to listen to the Lord in the early morning, this is what He said - a sobering message for all of us on the one hand, and yet on the other, yes, a message that we can celebrate, regardless of the times, as long as we seek to carry His agenda. Yes we can.

As you read this meditation, think back on last night and see how much the words relate to many of the scenes we saw played out on television, what Obama said, and what experiences we are all having at this time. And how we as Christians and non-believers are responding - I need to reflect deeply on this mediation as sometimes the angst and the pathos associated with the violence threaten to overwhelm me. Finally, I had no plans to write this morning, as this is Wednesday not Sunday. In particular, I had no plans to read a meditation on June 20th. But the Lord planned it. Did He also raise up Obama for a special purpose? We shall soon see.


" All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me". Matthew 28:18

IN WORD There is no greater authority, not in this world or any other. Our universe is governed by the Son of God, the Ancient of days incarnate, the alpha and the Omega. If being in the presence of rulers and celebrities gives us a thrill, how much more wonderful to know Immanuel - God with us. Whatever impresses us, frightens us, threatens us, embitters us, or thrills us --all that we can imagine and more - is under His reign. He is the ultimate power.
That's great, we might think. But what does it have to do with us? The answer is glorious. This infinite power, ultimate authority and the King above all kings is the very same One who intercedes for us. He is on our side. And if the ultimate Authority intercedes for us, who will overturn His intercession? What request of His will be overruled? The greatest power in all the universe - over all the universe, in fact - is already inclined to us, dedicated to working out our good, and available through our prayers. We might think not notice such support if we are bent on our own agenda, but if we are bent on His, there is no obstacle that can obscure it.

IN DEED Sounds too good to be true? Yes, it does. And it often appears that way. While the ultimate Authority reigns benevolently over us, we have trials and tribulations. Our children may have life-threatening illnesses. Our finances may come to ruin. Our security might be in danger. Our relationships might suffer irreparable conflict. It doesn't always look as if He is exercising His power.
But He is. The world He has placed us in is enemy territory, and we will not pass through it uncontested. When we focus on it, we will be discouraged and depressed. When we absorb its values and goals, we will be disappointed. And that's why Jesus comes to His disciples and says all authority is His. We need to know that - and to live as if we know it.

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