View from the Pews

Thoughts from a member

By Tom Lindaman

On November 5th , people around the world will be partaking in an English tradition known as Bonfire Night, also called Guy Fawkes Day. This tradition commemorates the actions of a Catholic, Guy Fawkes, as he attempted to strike a blow against religious oppression by trying (and failing) to blow up the houses of Parliament. At the time, Protestants oppressed Catholics after several years of Protestants being oppressed by Catholics in England.

So, what can a Catholic teach us about Lutheran faith? On the surface, not much. Although tensions between Catholics and Lutherans have diminished since Guy Fawkes' time, there are still fundamental differences that separate us. When we are faced with overt religious oppression, we may be spurred to take action, we must be careful it doesn't taint our faith.

Jeremiah 22:3 gives us a clear guideline of how God wants us to act.

This is what the Lord says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Although Fawkes was motivated by his faith, his actions were less than just and right against people who God put in charge. Hebrews 13:17 remind us how to treat our leaders.

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.

Often during the service, we pray for our leaders in government to make good decisions, and it should serve as a reminder of the power and responsibility God gives to our leaders. We may not agree with what they do, but that doesn't give us God's blessing to take unjust action against them. What we do in the name of faith should glorify God, not tarnish His teachings.

May God grant us the wisdom to do right by our God by doing right by our leaders.

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