Monday, January 20, 2003

Too much coffee

"It’s like the world’s been drinking too much coffee," Pete Greig writes in the 24-7prayer E-bullit. "Everything seems jittery. Watching the news feels like a soap opera with too many story lines crammed into a single show. Bush and Blair are intent on disarming Iraq of weapons they can’t find while Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe do panto on the world stage. Osama is off somewhere hanging out Dr Evil and Elvis, terrorising the world in whispers. Meanwhile Russia can do whatever it likes to Chechnya, and North Korea is busy sending postcards of their various nuclear arms factories to world leaders who are far too busy looking for weapons of mass destruction near oil fields to read the post."

"Meanwhile a UFO cult led by a dodgy old French pop star is busy trying to clone their (fantastically balanced) followers whilst in the middle-east everyone continues to blow everyone else up – normally on buses. At such times it’s easy to resort to extremes – either becoming too intense or too blasé. As Christians we cannot avoid the issues just because they’re complicated, burying ourselves in the trivial pursuits of local church activity or obsessing about the latest Reality TV series as if that really was reality. Paul urges 'that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for… all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.' (1 Tim. 2) Our prayers matter at times like these, and – believe it or not – world leaders desperately need such spiritual back up."

"In the midst of so many crises I’ve been wondering why so many wives of world leaders – from Nancy Reagan and Lady Di to Cherie Blair – seem to resort to astrology and New Age wacko stuff. My hunch is that they know the truth about their husbands and are terrorised by the notion that world peace lies in the hands of a man who can’t remember the name of the cat and farts in his sleep. They need to believe that a higher intelligence is pulling the strings of power than the one struggling with flat-pack furniture in the garage. Well, the good news for the president’s wives is that there actually is a higher power at work, promoting and demoting their husbands. The church of Jesus Christ has been appointed to exercise authority (rather than power) in prayer and in practice. We really have been raised up ‘for such a time as this’. Even when we are surrounded by trouble, Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16). We don’t need to rush around like Corporal Jones yelling ‘don’t panic!’ We need to pray."

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