Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast. He said: “I know that all Americans, men and women of different faith, and yes, those of no faith that they can name, are nevertheless joined together in common purpose, believing in something that is bigger than ourselves and the ideals that lie at the heart of our nation’s families.” An atheist blogger who responded wishes he would “avoid participating in events like these completely—tradition be [expletive deleted]—and keep his faith to himself.”
Is there another way to view the president’s case for inclusion?
As you may know, the Boy Scouts of America have deferred until May their decision regarding gay members and leaders. A critic chides their “lack of leadership” and states that “no one will want to invest in or be part of a values-based organization that won’t take a stand on values.” While I am glad the BSA did not change their historic position on this moral issue, I grieve that their struggle is even necessary. In a culture that has rejected absolute truth and objective values, what we are left to embrace is “believing in something that is bigger than ourselves,” whatever that “something” may be.
By contrast, consider a ministry begun recently by the Redeemer Baptist Church in Cespedes, Cuba. Their church building’s tower is the tallest structure in their town. When I was in their community earlier this week, I learned that twice a year, members go to this tower, open its windows, and read the Bible aloud over the city. They begin at Genesis and go through Revelation, reading for 24 straight hours in one-hour shifts.
When the congregation began this practice, murders were prevalent in Cespedes and Santeria (a Caribbean occult religion) was practiced on the street corners. Dead bodies were paraded through the streets while Satanic chants were spoken over them. Since the church has been reading God’s word over their town, the murder rate has plummeted. Santeria has stopped and dead bodies are no longer marched through the streets. Now other churches in Cuba are joining them, building a network to read Scripture over the entire nation.
If Christians in a Communist country can make such a difference by speaking and living Scripture, what can we do to influence our so-called “Christian” nation? God says that his word “will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). His word also states, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). How will you help your nation be “blessed” today?