“There are Kingdom principles”, my sister, Alilya, often tells me, “ through which, if you follow/obey, you will always be successful”. I think today is when I’ve understood this often heard phrase from the sister so close to my heart.
I have had the grace to be invited and attended the 63rd National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC today. This prayer is organised by a group of USA senators who pray together every Thursday from 1953. In its tradition, the seating President of the USA always attends and today Mr. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were present.
There were greetings and message from Pope Francis, The Dalai Lama was also present. A rabbi read the first reading from the Old Testament book of Micah. Old Testament reading included also the meaning of true religion and fasting from the book of Isaiah. New Testament reading from Luke was on the Good Samaritan, and this was to be read by King Abdullah II of Jordan. Other readings from the New Testament and prayers were said by heroes including Dr. Kent Brantly, who contracted Ebola virus while treating victims in Liberia. His healing was, as President Obama said in his presentation, due to his faith and excellent medical care.
The key note speaker, Mr. Darrel Waltrip, the NASCAR champion, emphasised on “looking back” by giving his story of salvation through grace and how walking with Jesus has changed his life and relationships with family and friends.
So, before I go to what Mr. President said, which was the one of the interesting parts for me, let me tell you a little background.
My PhD research was on religion and politics. At the beginning I struggled enormously to frame this two “diverse” concepts into a coherent research design. So I wondered a lot in literature and in following up events that would at least give me a signpost on where religion and politics intersect. The famous USA National Prayer Breakfast was one event that I watched (on CNN and online) closely. I never knew or thought I’d get an opportunity to actually attend in person…but how Jesus works!!! I’m just grateful for his Amazing Grace.
So due to my research background and interests, I tuned my ears attentively to listen to what Mr. President would say. Before him, the prayers, messages, and keynote speech were all very spiritual (of course) but I sensed the President would bring in some political flavour and meaning into what was going on at that very moment.
Impressive is not adequate to express the depth of Mr. President’s presentation on religion and politics. He started by highlighting the “double-sided” (i.e. positive and negative) nature of religion. However, listening to him carefully, he seemed to argue that the negative side of region is often the twisted religion. In those who use religion to justify their acts of evil are twisting religion. Actually, Mr. Obama believes that “there is no God who condones taking the live of an innocent human being”.
HUMILITY centred around Mr. Obama’s presentation. He shows us humility in us is crucial for freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Humility goes hand in hand with tolerance.
Mr. Obama then explained why USA is the most religious country in the Western world. He credited that to the wisdom of the founders who separated state and church. In that vein, he kept explaining that Theocracies cannot allow people to express their faith at their free will (or naturally), so are the authoritarian governments that put one human being above other people and in some cases even above God himself.
One of the political pinch is when Mr. Obama said he was happy to have invited the Dalai Lama in the White House…(that is not an easy statement to the Chinese). He finished his presentation by saying the USA is very much looking forward to welcoming Pope Francis later this year.
The breakfast prayer was closed by Hon. Andrew J. Young, former Mayor of Atlanta and congressman. Hon. Young spoke about the history of USA since the Second World War in concurrent with the history of Prayer Breakfast. With that background, he showed how the spirit of forgiveness inspired by Jesus has brought the USA to where it is today.
Now, I kept thinking, with all the weaknesses and faults in the USA foreign policies and how tough the police, USA can be to the outer world, I kept wondering how come there’s such a good spirit in Washington DC, reflected in the prayer breakfast, yet such “shrewd” foreign policies are made in the same city? I wondered of the success of the USA, the free ambiance in the country, the hope it brings forward to most of its inhabitants…and inspiration to many other in the world…it is a special country…
And my racing mind calmed down when I remember my sister’s statement on the Kingdom principles…
The Prayer Breakfast showed me that there are some Kingdom Principles that the USA follow…and that is why, no matter their weaknesses especially in foreign policies and their use of power in international space….it is still a very blessed and successful country!!!
Let’s wake up and shine through following Kingdom Principles!
For my country Tanzania, in this election year 2015, let’s vote for a leader who will lead and walk with us all through Kingdom principle…
I know who that is….! You can ask me if you want to know and join us in the race towards victory!!!
#ByGrace, #Victory, #Glory!