Integrity in the face of opposition
I was ticked. Although I wasn’t in close contact with the guy and had no symptoms, because I had been possibly exposed to a friend who may have had COVID, my staff urged me not to preach last Sunday’s sermon in person. The elders on the Council agreed. So, I submitted. But sure, I was ticked! I REALLY wanted to preach the opening message from Daniel in person—but instead, Sunday morning, I was getting a COVID swab.
Good news: it was negative. I’m fine. More good news: God used the change in MY plans (not his) for good. The very fact that I was preaching from a screen instead of from behind a pulpit underscored the central theme of the book of Daniel: the sovereignty of God. The fact that God is ultimately and always in control. That nothing that occurs catches him by surprise. That he can use even what appears to us to be disaster or catastrophe or failure… or COVID… to accomplish his ultimate purposes.
As I sat in front of the TV Sunday morning, watching me preach, grinding and kvetching about it, my wife drove the point home. (As she always does.) “You might want to listen to your own sermon.” Grrr…
To my surprise, I have had more responses from that hastily-thrown-together video sermon than any I have had for a long time. The idea of “subversive leadership”… that Daniel could be a good citizen of an earthly kingdom… and a better citizen of God’s kingdom… at the same time… that idea could not be more timely. Reports indicate that armed protests are scheduled in every state of the union on inauguration Day. We are now sitting through the second impeachment of our president. Our republic looks more fragile and ill than it has for a long, long time.
So… do we believe God is still in control, regardless? And do we have the courage to live lives of Christian integrity, however strong the opposing winds might blow? This Sunday, I hope to preach (in person) about Daniel’s first subversive act in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Join me.