S (Scripture): Acts 14:8 In Lystra sat a man who could not use his feet, lame from birth, who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul stared intently at him and saw he had faith to be healed, 10 he said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man leaped up and began walking. 11 So when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 They began to call Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of the temple of Zeus, located just outside the city, brought bulls and garlands to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.”
18 Even by saying these things, they scarcely persuaded the crowds not to offer sacrifice to them.
O (Observation): Paul and Barnabas – keen on sharing the Gospel and healing and giving God the credit – try to convince the people of Lystra that God works through God’s people. Paul and Barnabas are not themselves gods…but rather, with God’s doing, anyone can heal and share the Gospel.
Even after they explained that God was responsible for this miracle, the people still were convinced of their prior convictions that these disciples – Paul and Barnabas – were gods…and the people still made sacrifices to them, anyway.
Paul and Barnabas know that the sacrifices should be made to God, not to humans, regardless of the good works done.
A (Application): Today is the day our President-Elect Donald Trump becomes President Donald Trump. What a roller coaster it’s been. Friendships shattered; neighbors fighting. Some say this presidential election is revealing everyone’s true colors; others say the outcries are much ado about nothing. Some say what President Trump stands for is horrendous; others say his actions are what we should focus on, not his character.
We can divide this all sorts of ways. But regardless of what is said, in the next few hours, Donald Trump will be our nation’s President.
So, where do we go from here?
As I look to the Scripture text above, I see that people can be convinced of their own thoughts, regardless of what is in front of them. Paul and Barnabas tried to convince those around them that God was in control of the situation…that Paul and Barnabas are just stewarding God’s gift of healing.
Whether or not President Trump is liked or not, we must still be convinced that God still reigns, regardless of votes and political motivations. God is still on the throne, not Former President Obama, nor President Trump. We live within this system, and we trust the Lord to lead us through.
Will we experience turbulence or peace? Time will tell. But we need only to look to the history of God’s people, in the Scriptures, to see that God’s fallible people are carried forward, through thick and thin.
We need not fear, but we also need not lay down our convictions to live out the Gospel. We speak out where we see injustices. We stand up for justice throughout the earth. These are faithful and faith-filled actions.
Most of all, we rely on God to carry us through. We need not fear, only believe that God is with us this day.
Support President Trump, or peacefully protest his presidency. Either way, listen to how God is calling you to act and act out in faith and mercy.
P (Prayer): Almighty God, we lift before you all who govern this country. May those who hold power understand that it is a trust from you to be used, not for personal glory or profit, but for the service of the people. Drive from us cynicism, selfishness, and corruption; grant in your mercy just and honest government; and give us grace to live together in unity and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Prayer for the Nation, from the worship resource Evangelical Lutheran Worship.)