Last week I was sitting in church when we began singing these lyrics . . .
“We call out to dry bones, come alive, come alive!
We call out to dead hearts, come alive!”
At the time I had no idea what our sermon would be about. However, here is what came to my mind. At this time in our country’s history, what would happen if we as a church began to cry out to our political leaders and institutions the invitation to come alive and if we called out to God to revive the dead hearts found in the halls of our country’s government institutions? How would our country change? This isn’t about a political party or affiliation. I hope that we are not naive enough to believe that any human party has a corner on the market of Christ-likeness. This is about realizing the need for us as a church to be about the business of the Kingdom.
One of my religion professors in college once said this, “The Kingdom of Heaven is not a pipe dream.” In other words, when Jesus entered this world he ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven and while it may not reach completion until we arrive in heaven, that in no way negates the fact that he calls his followers to be about the business of bringing that kingdom here and now. We are positioned at exactly the time and place that needs the Church. Needs us to reject the idea that one ideology or political party has all the answers. Needs us to reject the notion that we have to question each other’s faith if we question their vote. Needs us to reject the easy path of only listening to those who agree with us. We need to engage, to listen, to love, and to fight for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not a pipe dream and we have a responsibility to work towards its realization on earth.
So, as I sat in my seat and listened to the song I began to pen this prayer. And as the sermon began I was surprised to find the message was connected to this same topic. Maybe God was trying to tell me something. Maybe he’s trying to tell us all. Will you join with me in praying this over our country? And will you join me in the fighting to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth?
Be with our leaders—in each branch of our government
Be with our leaders—in community organizations, churches, and non-profits
Be with our leaders—in town councils, schools, and emergency services
And be with us—the citizens who stand in this divided time
Where there are dry bones and dead hearts, we call out “come alive!”
Where there are hardened hearts, we pray that you would open them with your grace
Where we have closed ourselves off, we pray that you would break our hearts for what breaks your
Where there is fear that has left us paralyzed or hiding behind closed doors, remind us of your
frequent call to “fear not” and strengthen us in your power
Where there is mistrust and resentment, enable us to risk understanding where others are coming
Where there is hurt and past scars, give us the grace to forgive and move forward
Where there is selfishness and greed, reorient us to your kingdom values
Where there is hatred and anger, overpower us with your love and allow us to see our enemies as
your children whom you love with an overwhelming fierceness
Where there is division, fill us with unity, help us to be peacemakers
Help our leaders
Help our churches
to be the standard bearers of your image
to honor you with our words and actions
to stand for all your children
to remember who our neighbors are
to work to bring your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven
Help us, Oh Lord