A funny thing happened to me on the way to waking up today. Imagine my surprise when the first reading of the morning (in the Revised Common Lectionary) was from Psalm 37:
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. (vv. 1-4)
It nearly goes without saying that the sweeping, ill-planned, and draconian order about refugees, to use the psalmist’s words, constitutes a wrong. (I’d like to save the word evil for more egregious acts—e.g., people getting murdered by governments). But even many conservatives are calling Trump’s move “wrong.” I agree with Brenden O’Neill at the libertarian rag spiked,
It is the lowest form of gesture politics: the swipe of a pen intended to demonstrate all-American strength, yet really signaling a stunning disregard for the American spirit of liberty and tradition of providing a home for the repressed of the globe.
Christians have deeper reasons than “the American spirit of liberty” to be dismayed by the executive order, of course, but the psalm got me thinking about not merely the wrong but how we might respond. I was especially startled by the admonition to “Trust in the Lord and do good.” It reminded me of a very simple truth: that the powerful who do wrong cannot stop the church from doing good. In this case, there is nothing the current administration can do to prevent the church from continuing to minister to refugees.
To be sure, it will be harder to do so—much ...1
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