Since our three kids live hundreds of miles apart from us and one another, our gatherings are often complicated to organize but always special for our family. Our older son lives in Jackson, WY, so months ago, we massaged our schedules and set last weekend for that special time. We figured that the onset of frigid fall would be the greatest obstacle to getting there and getting out to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Grand Teton National Park.
But like thousands of other Americans caught short by the closure of national monuments and parks, we were frustrated at not being able to enter the places that never required monitoring by government officials before the shutdown imbroglio. Anyone reading this has definite opinions about who’s to blame, what should have been done, etc. I don’t want this to be a political blog so I’m not going there. I’m grateful that America was founded on open political discourse and our Constitution, a tremendous document given us through Divine Providence and God-fearing men who revered the God of Heaven.
The town of Jackson, Wyoming was adversely impacted by the shutdown, so it was difficult to avoid all discussion of politics. It reminded me of my father’s (He farmed in the plains states.) fulminations about the government’s efforts to raise the prices of commodities through dubious means, particularly FDR’s mandate to slaughter six million young pigs in the middle of the Great Depression. One can imagine the outrage and sorrow by people virtually starving.
When we look to scripture for guidance, the Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13 that we are to “… be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God ...”
Of course, this doesn’t mean citizens may not lawfully oppose laws and lawmakers with which they disagree. In fact, we should be informed and engaged as the nation will again face the debt ceiling in 90 days. All citizens have the responsibility to start now to do just that, if they haven’t already. Jesus told us to “… render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:15-22) He affirmed the two kingdoms and our dual allegiance, but he didn’t define it further.
The 4th chapter of Acts gives the encounter of Peter and John with the Sanhedrin, which had civic, as well as religious, jurisdiction over the internal affairs of Palestine. When the Sanhedrin ordered them not to preach anymore in Jesus’ name, the disciples repudiated civil authority because it sought to stop their proclamation of the gospel.
Revelation chapters 13 and 17 refer to the state as a blasphemous beast and a great harlot. Um, from that, we could gather that the state is not the ultimate good. Again, Jesus tells us that foundationally, we are first to seek his kingdom and his righteousness.
What did you experience during the shutdown? What did you discover that gave you insight or clarity for the coming days and months of heightened uncertainty?
- Barred From Yellowstone (samuelehall.wordpress.com)
- Shutdown forces tourists, rangers to leave Wyoming national parks en masse (trib.com)