The Pastor’s Pen: November 17, 2019

Kudos to the Veterans Recognition Committee. Last week’s service was touching and uplifting. In the last few years, the Armed Forces medley has become a significant portion of our Veterans Day Observance. When I look out over the congregation, I see numbers of people singing enthusiastically the inspiring service songs. We must never forget sacrifices that African Americans have made for freedom going as far back as the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Even though we have not enjoyed the freedoms that our nation promised, our people selflessly fought to maintain our nation’s independence. Thank God for all those who worked diligently and sacrificially to put together an exceptional service. In spite of our veterans’ willingness to sacrifice, as we said last week from Isaiah 2:4, God’s will is that “we beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.” As our ancestors said from the depths of slavery and unjust incarceration, we know that God’s goal is ultimately for us to say, “…ain’t gonna study war no more.”

Last Wednesday, the impeachment inquiry hearing moved to the forefront of the national stage. Witnesses Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Secretary of State Kent provided an excellent example of what a factual witness should do—neither permitted themselves to be drawn into the weeds on the impeachment protocol or speculation. These two excellent presidential-appointed career government servants provided the facts as they knew them. Speaker Nancy Pelosi resisted entering into an impeachment inquiry out of the concern that it would further divide the nation. She was and remains right. Polls consistently show that the nation is evenly split between those who favor impeachment and removal from office and those who feel that there is not enough evidence to commit such a drastic remedy for the president’s crimes.

This entire sordid chapter in our history provides several takeaways which we must not forget. Isaiah 9:6 states, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The prophet prophesied the coming of God’s Son and that all governments will stand upon his shoulders. What that means in the present context is that arguments over quid pro quo or extortion or bribery, are immaterial. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 articulates the standard for all leaders political or otherwise, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Whether it is a president, governor, pastor, or other church leaders, it is incumbent upon persons in a position of leadership to understand that the only effective way to lead is not to find shortcuts or linguistic loopholes that are actually lies, but to simply avoid even the appearance of evil.