At his inauguration on January 20, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took an unprecedented step: after taking the oath of office, he led the nation in prayer. During his prayer, which historian Kevin Kruse notes helped make Eisenhower’s inauguration as much a “religious consecration” as a “political ceremony,” the new president asked God to “make full and complete [the executive branch’s] dedication to the service of the people.”
Eisenhower’s professed dedication to serve all the citizens of the United States and his willingness to rely upon God’s help were not entirely new.
In ministry here in Harrisburg, in the past five years our congregation has lost eight sons—all murdered in cold blood. Gun violence is a national nightmare, experienced locally and felt personally by so many of us. It should be a Civil Rights issue of our day.
I was working with a group on racial reconciliation, and I felt frustrated. I mostly listened, but then every time I spoke, the words coming out of my mouth were all wrong. And I’m a type-A, liberal, PC, white woman. I don’t like to be wrong. I like to “get it” and secretly roll my eyes at other wrong people.
I like homiletical challenges. I enjoy preaching on Trinity Sunday and when Jesus tells us that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. I like tackling the tough doctrines and demands of the gospel. But Sunday's Gospel lesson, the parable of the dishonest manager? That takes difficult to another order of magnitude.
One of the key stops on the Romans Road to salvation is Romans 3:23. Stop me if you’ve heard it from an evangelical friend of yours—“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Or, perhaps you haven’t walked that path before; maybe you’ve spent your whole life in mainline Protestantism. If that’s the case, then you are likely familiar with the idea of corporate confession.