“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Written by Rev. Brandon Durán
The quickest way to cause an explosion in my household is to tip the scales. The moment one of my children think the other has received an extra benefit, a fuse is lit. If one receives a gift, a privilege, a bit of attention, and the other believes they have not been given an equal measure then the discord they feel reverberates throughout the house. It is a very a small example of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote,
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”
This powerful quote came from Rev. King’s sermon entitled, “When Peace Becomes Obnoxious.” This sermon was delivered just weeks after Autherine Lucy was expelled from the University of Alabama. A federal judge had ruled that the university could not deny Autherine’s admission because of her race. When Autherine showed up for class, mob violence erupted. Crosses were burned, eggs were thrown, and Autherine was threatened. Once Autherine was unjustly expelled, a relative quiet followed the days of rioting. Rev. King condemned this calm as “the type of peace that stinks in the nostrils of the almighty God.”
The scripture calls on us to pray for our leaders in order that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness.” This hoped-for effect of our prayer instructs us as to the content of our prayer. If we want a true peaceable life, a God-honoring peace, then we must pray that our leaders would lead with wisdom, uplift the cause of the powerless, and act with justice. Societies rife with injustice will inevitably foster revolution. The discord people feel in their hearts will reverberate throughout the community.
Our current social landscape is filled with echo chambers telling us that we’re OK because we are right. Within such bubbles we may feel a sense of peace, but we know that it isn’t real or lasting. As Christians, our call is not to pray for a political party or a particular platform. Our call is to pray for equality, to pray for justice, and to pray for God’s kingdom to come. This prayer will lead us to peace.
The Rev. King ended that sermon saying, “Finally, never forget that there is an inner peace that comes as a result of doing God’s will.”