By Pastor Nissa Peterson
Chatfield and Root Prairie
My name is Pastor Nissa Peterson. I serve at Chatfield Lutheran Church and Root Prairie Lutheran Church, in Chatfield and rural Fountain, respectively. I am happy to get this chance to share scripture and prayer with you!
I wanted to share with you a reflection on a scripture reading from 1 Timothy 2:1-7. Here is the passage:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all — this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
It can feel risky these days to talk about politics, much less politics AND religion. But in this passage, the apostle Paul invites his readers to pray for kings and leaders. Even though Paul himself had significant disagreements with kings and leaders (see for example the many times he was thrown in prison). Praying for political and cultural leaders can feel very risky!
My congregations regularly include the political leaders of our state, country, and city in the congregational prayers. My congregations have people of every political leaning, some who are very vocal about their views, some who are passionate but private. So no matter which political leaders are in the prayers, someone in the congregation supports them, and someone definitely does not.
Even if we disagree with the leaders in our governments, churches, or institutions, we pray for them. This is because the church is political, but not partisan. We pray fervently for God’s will to be done regardless of which political party is in power. Our prayers for those we disagree with, as well as those we support, change our hearts to see our leaders and political rivals as fellow members of God’s family. Our prayers for our rivals help us to humbly acknowledge that we are not better or more right than others, but we are all God’s beloved and can show the gospel together through our loving, prophetic actions in the political realm. God calls us to serve and love our neighbor through bold actions grounded in the radical love of Jesus – even for those with whom we disagree.
Let us pray: God of all, bring about your justice and peace in our world! Bless all leaders to work for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.