Coming Together

Last Wednesday evening I was at the standing at the Subway platform in the Sub-Basement of the United States Capitol. I was watching a video monitor of the proceedings going on in the House Chamber that moment. The volume was muted but I could see my friend, Congressman Jeff Duncan making remarks on the House floor with members behind him laughing. Knowing the Congressman, I could imagine that he was making some humorous remarks.

A few moments later as the House adjourned I saw Congressman Duncan coming down the escalator and ready to board the subway. I asked what was happening in the House chamber and he shared how he had been talking about the upcoming baseball game between the Republicans and Democrats. It was a lighter moment between members of both parties. Before he stepped onto the subway, he asked if I would pray for one of his staff members who parent had just received a cancer diagnosis. We stood there on the subway platform and prayed.

One might wonder with the pressing issues facing our nation, why are members of Congress playing games? I believe that members of Congress need to spend more time together in times of recreation and getting to know each other apart from the politics of the day.

As I have spent lots of time in Washington, D. C. over the past three years, I have heard from members of Congress that they no longer get to know each other as they have in the past. Friendships and connections to each other's families used to provide a setting to find common ground on challenging issues facing the nation.

With the shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others at a baseball practice in preparation for the Congressional baseball game, the two parties have an opportunity to come together. Representative Scalise is a well-respected member of the House and he has been very supportive of The Jefferson Gathering worship services. I leave a note of encouragement in Mr. Scalise's office as I travel to the Capitol. My colleague, Dan Cummins and I are thankful for his support.  

I would encourage you to continue praying for our nation and those who work on Capitol Hill including the brave men and women who work on the Capitol Police Force. As I am on the Hill, I have gotten to know many of the officers and pray God's protection and blessing on them.

Pray that this incident would be an opportunity to come together for the sake of our nation.

 

Our Hope

Finally, it's over. No matter who your preferred candidate was, I think we are all feeling a bit battered and bruised by the process. Some folks have lost friends on Facebook and some have literally lost friends.  Some have lost hope.  

During this political season the words to the hymn lyric written by Edward Mote (1797-1874) have continued to echo in my mind. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteous. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.

I'll be returning to Washington, DC the second week in November and it will certainly be interesting to walk the halls, meet with members of Congress and once again lead worship in the Capitol. Some of the men and women that I have gotten to know have lost their election and will not be returning to the Capitol in January. Several of these are solid people of faith who were seeking to serve God as they served the nation. As I return to the Capitol four more times before the end of the year, I am looking forward to the opportunities to be an encouragement to those on Capitol Hill.

There have been calls to prayer before the election but I believe that prayer for our nation is even more important in the coming days. Our hope is not in kings, princes or presidents. Our hope can only be in Jesus, the King of kings.

Steve

THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you've got, be resolute, and love without stopping.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (The Message)

Some folks are stubborn. You can probably think of one or two people right now who are hardheaded. Maybe it's you. Some people get something in their head and it is virtually impossible for them to change their mind or point of view. Facts or logic has no effect on what they think and do. And if you try to offer an opposing perspective they will often dig in even more.

Abraham Lincoln said, "Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm." The quote from Lincoln says it well. Before standing firm one should make sure to put their feet in the right place and that would include in the right direction.  I might be standing in the right place but if I'm not facing the right direction, I can miss seeing important things. 

Some believers in Jesus take a stand for the Gospel.  They are unbendable and relentless in their stand for the Truth and yet they are some of the most unloving people.  They may be defending the faith, but their words and actions even towards others who claim the name of Jesus are in stark contrast to Jesus' command to love.

From the scripture in Corinthians, I take two things. I am to be resolute and steadfast but also be a person of love.

In these days of political rhetoric and upheaval, let people know us by our love.

Steve