If I titled newsletter columns, this one might be called “Confessions of a Political Junky.” My undergraduate degree is in political science. I have an Honours Degree in Christian Ethics and Applied Theology from the University of Edinburgh. I went to Scotland specifically to study at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues. I flip on the news first thing each morning. What is more – often, when I can’t sleep, I listen to the BBC in the wee hours.
It’s true. I am a political junky.
And, even I have reached my saturation point. The body politic is eager and anxious, restless and chomping at the bit. There is more heat than light on the TV talk shows and the radio. Otherwise good people are frothing at the mouth.
So I am taking a brief break. Instead of watching cable news, I intend to spend the next few days reading the Psalms.
Like these verses, from the 46th:
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
The Psalms remain remarkably relevant. They remind us that God is faithful and that God is present with humanity for the long haul. Indeed, for the very long haul. The Psalms were written long before Jesus. What a thought that is, a striking realization for Americans whose Declaration of Independence is not yet 250 years old.
God is in the midst of the city.
As God was in Jerusalem, God is in the United States. It is still true.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter.
Assyria. Babylon. Egypt. Artaxerxes. Cyrus the Persian. Nebuchadnezzar. The Pharaoh. Ancient Israel spent much of its time wringing its hands and clenching its teeth, surrounded as it was by more powerful nations.
And today? Is NATO necessary? Will we carry on with the One China Policy? Will the European Union survive? Will we sign trade treaties, and with whom?
How will we relate to Russia? Is there anything new under the sun?
My brief retreat into the Psalms and away from the news in no way suggests that contemporary events do not matter. Rather, the brief respite simply celebrates what matters most. Christians are to engage the world, the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. I’ll emerge from my Biblical cocoon soon, and with you, then, I hope to be an agent of understanding and reconciliation.
Until then, please pardon my need to remember that “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
Peace to you, and more,