Putting a Shoulder to It

January 1, 2015 admin

When Joyce and I were newly married, we had a friend who was the IVCF (Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship) staff in Western New York. One time he invited us to help with a weekend retreat for college and university students. Our job was to facilitate small group discussions throughout the weekend. Listening to them intently and affirming them over the course of the two days, we discovered, was exhausting.

The final activity was an auction. Each student was given a sum of “money” to bid on whatever item(s) he or she wished. The items represented gifts of beauty, brains and brawn such as a student might dream of having. The bidding was lively and in marked contrast to the rest of the weekend. One item, however, had no bidders. The item: the presidency of the United States. No takers! Not one!

Can you blame them? At the time the Vietnam War was dragging on. Kent State University student protests over extending the war to bombing Cambodia had left four students dead, killed by the National Guard, and nine others wounded. Draft dodgers were making their way to Canada. Now, who would like to be president of the United States? No takers! Not one!

And who is up to the challenge of governing today? Some think they are and manage to convince the voters to elect them. Others simply grab whatever power they can. But really, can any one individual or coalition of nations solve the world’s problems and bring peace and prosperity to all mankind? I doubt it and you probably do, too.

Did you listen to Handel’s Messiah this Christmas season? Or perhaps you read the text of Isaiah 9:6 on a card you received—or even one you sent. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” His shoulder. Messiah’s shoulder. He alone is capable of shouldering the responsibility of government to bring the world peace and justice.

While we treasure the words of Isaiah 9:6 at Christmas, verse 7 is a yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

The text of Handel’s Messiah continues from the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6 in Part I to these words from Revelation 11:15b in the “Hallelujah! Chorus” at the end of Part II. “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” It won’t be a coalition government. He won’t strike a deal with the opposition. It will be His—and His alone! I’m looking forward to that day. ow about you?

How about you?

And He shall reign for ever and ever, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”