November 17

Psalm 93:3-5

“More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the Lord!” vs 4

In the days of the monarchy in Israel there were periodic ceremonies in the temple acknowledging that the Lord reigned over the nation. Psalms were chanted and there would be a symbolic enthronement of the Lord as the sovereign ruler. It was likely a popular sentiment in Israel–most people like to think of their nation as being “under God.” Certainly that’s the case in the United States where the phase was added to the pledge of allegiance in 1954. A couple of years later, to make sure that the point was clear, Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as the official motto of our country, a phrase which now appears on all currency. For the most part such expressions of national piety are harmless, but there are times when they become problematic. It’s one thing to say “In God we trust,” but quite another to believe that “God is on our side,” and it’s downright dangerous to link God and country in the exercise of religion. In order for people of God to speak and act in a prophetic fashion there always must be a separation of church and state. Jesus always spoke truth to power, and we who follow in his way can never abandon our call to offer solid critiques when our nation fails to act in the common good.

Thought for the Day: When is it proper to criticize our country?

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