Updated: Jun 15, 2022
In the Old Testament, trumpets and other instruments, such as animal horns, were used for various reasons: to signal movement, in war, to call the Israelites to assemble, and to mark festivals (Julie Schwab in Our Daily Bread). In the New Testament, Jesus also refers to a mighty blast of the trumpet gathering his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth (Matthew 24:31).
Did you hear the blast? I did, on January 6th. It was a blast calling all Christians to arms: putting on God’s armor of truth and righteousness, shoes of peace, the shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit (Ephesians 6:13-17).
Individuals, right and left, scream about the times we are experiencing, but what is going to alter the course of hate, vitriol, and fear in our land? Couldn’t the people of faith, the Jesus-followers in our land—yes, including all who believe in political systems in shades of red, blue, and purple—come together in their communities, to proclaim, not the answer to every societal problem, but a way forward under a common banner?
For those on the fringes of faith, the doubters and skeptics, I’m not talking about joining an organization, but rather suggesting that our actions and words should be based on the moral and spiritual values that Jesus lived and espoused—love, mercy for the weak and hurting, justice, inclusion, and compassion for all, regardless of background, race and station in life. We could proclaim that our god isn’t a political party or system, or even a man, but rather the One who created us all.
Mahatma Gandhi had many interactions with Christians in his lifetime. He is recorded as saying, “It is a first-class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of the belief in actual practice. If I had to face only the Sermon on the Mount [ed note: Matthew 5:3-11] and my interpretation of it, I should not hesitate to say, ‘O yes, I am a Christian.’”
Visiting family in Idaho recently, I had a brief conversation with a man at the end of a church service. Not sure how we got into political matters, but he told me that he believed our current president was sent by God. While all leaders are put in place by God (Romans 13:1), as far as I know there has been only One Man in human history who truly represented the values and spirit of God. The rest of us, including our current leader and leaders in the past, are flawed—some more than others.
Hans Tiefel, associate professor of philosophy and religion at the College of Idaho, writes of the German church before WWII that only 10% of the religious people opposed Hitler. The rest either supported him or remained silent. In 1935, sadly, the church leadership in Saxony described the Nazi state as divinely ordered. Furthermore, there was no opposition to state-sanctioned violence against the Jews.
Republican President James Garfield, whose life was cut short by an assassin in 1881, wrote this: “Let me urge you to follow Him, not the Nazarene, the Man of Galilee, the carpenter’s son, but as the ever-living spiritual person, full of love and compassion, who will stand by you in life and death, and eternity.”
Could this be “our finest hour,” as Winston Churchill said in 1940? Could we Christians hear the blast of the trumpet, put on our armor, and accept our calling? Not only to model Jesus’ life but to find new ways to reach our divided, hurting community and nation with His love.