Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. (1Pe 2:12-13.17 NIV)
Respect for laws and customs of a place is part of a good life of foreigners in strange lands – at least in so far as these are compatible with the love for ones own fatherland. Therefore its part of God’s pilgrims in foreign lands to respect the government and to be subject to their ordinances – even if it demands tough stuff. God’s pilgrims don’t complain even if they have to abide by some strange and harsh rules. Even in those Roman times when Christians were persecuted most fiercely, the roman armies were already saturated with Christians. If they would have turned their weapons against Caesar, he would have felt it quite sorely and they might even have caused a successful revolt and have him disposed. However those Christians were not rebellious. They were humble and filled with humility and the desire to serve. They saw themselves as pilgrims and not fighting to establish their own kingdom on earth. They were content with their heavenly home and their abiding citizenship there. That’s where their minds were focused. The troubles of this time and age they bore willingly and kept the admonition “Honor the king!” in high regard – even when he persecuted them unjustly. Show proper respect to everyone was understood by them to include even the pagan authorities, who were making martyrs of them by the thousands. They prayed for those authorities, their own persecutors and tormentors. Their patience was great. God has promised that the meek will inherit the earth!
O Lord, you have ordained that we pray for all authority. We pray, let us not be moved by a spirit of disobedience and unfaithfulness. Sanctify amongst us a people, who will be eager and flourishing in good works and who will not tire to pray for all those in authority, that they will serve with diligence, patience, wisdom and justice. If we do have to suffer for Thy name’s sake, then grant us endurance too and strength to bear this injustice patiently and willingly to your honour and glory. Amen.
Come Children let us go – the Father is coming along. He’s with us – especially if the going gets tough. He strengthens our resolve with kind words and invitations. Oh yeah – we’re well off indeed + (Gerhard Terstegen, 1697-1769)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the third Sunday after Easter: Jubilate. It is found on Pg. 181 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.