Posted by: morgan1965 | May 9, 2009

Politics and Prayer

The Council of bishops of The United Methodist Church held its spring meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. The Council strives to hold one meeting each quadrennium in the Washington DC area, so that members of the Council can visit their Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. The general purpose of these visits is to provide an opportunity for individual bishops to meet with their respective senators and/or representatives. The agenda might include a discussion of mutual concerns, proposed legislation, fellowship and prayer.

On Tuesday, May 5, 2009 Bishop William Boyd Grove and I met with Senator Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia’s long serving senior senator. We were warmly received by our senator. From our perspective, we wanted the visit to be pastoral rather than political. After some conversation with Senator Byrd, I inquired of him regarding what message he might want to convey to me as the spiritual leader of the West Virginia Annual Conference. Without hesitation, he told me that I should affirm the presence of God in our world as creator and sustainer. As a nation, we must keep God at the center of our politics and our daily living. He testified to the centrality of God in his life.

Senator Byrd gave us a copy of his 2006 Thanksgiving statement recorded in the “Congressional Record.” Among other things he said: “The very first national observance of Thanksgiving, which came in 1789, was to thank Almighty God for His role in creating our great country, and His assistance in forming our Constitution.” He shared with us an attitude of praise and thanksgiving to God.

The Senator also gave us a copy of a daily devotional written by Senator Byrd and his late wife, Erma. The devotional is titled, “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread.” The dedication page says, “Erma and I dedicate these forty Devotionals to the young people of West Virginia, who are just beginning life’s journey with the Lord.” In a practical way, we see the alignment of religion and politics in the person of Senator Byrd.

Before taking our leave, I offered a prayer for the Senator and his work. When I finished the prayer, Senator Byrd offered his own prayer.

As we turned to leave his office, Senator Byrd led us in singing “Amazing Grace.”

This was an incredible visit.

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Responses

  1. Wow – thanks for sharing that. What a blessed visit.


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