Law Day and Prayer

When did we become enemies?  The law and Christ followers.  May 1 marks national law day.  May 2 marks the national day of prayer.  Standing next to one another – but too often never to connect.

Both days grew out of the 1950’s.  Law Day in 1958 and the National Day of Prayer in 1952.  George Washington held the first national day of prayer,  so a time of fasting, praying and seeking the Divine are not new.  But as a nation of laws we made a day of prayer the law of the land codified in the United States Code – 36 USC 119 – which states:  “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United State may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”

May 1 was Law Day and this year’s theme, “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All,” provides an opportunity to explore the movement for civil and human rights in America and the impact that it has had in promoting the ideal of equality under the law. The day emphasized the work that remains to be done in rectifying injustice, eliminating all forms of discrimination, and putting an end to human trafficking and other violations of our basic human rights. As Dr. King pointed out in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

We are celebrating 150 years since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.  Lincoln foresaw “a new birth of freedom” in our nation that was not separated from justice, equality and faith.  Lincoln was a lawyer.  Lincoln was a politician.  Lincoln was a Christian.  He could wear all three under his stove top hat.  Why can’t we?

I dont’ know why prayer and law should be separate.  Washington bowed his knee in Valley Forge.  Lincoln prayed continually.  Shouldn’t we be praying for those who impact our laws and those who provide equal access to the law?  Instead of telling lawyer jokes and pointing out all that is wrong with our laws, why not pray for lawyers, politicians and encourage them to study the Bible and make decisions influenced by the moral fabric of our nation and the tradition of western civilization.  Christ followers should be leading the way by example to a watching world. 

I came across an article this week which demonstrates this truth.  I like Dan Cathy.  He is the chicken guy.  I don’t mean he’s chicken – he has a lot of Godly courage – I mean he heads up Chick-fil-a.  He’s been in the news because of his supposed intolerance toward the gay community.  I say supposed because I think Dan reflects the truth that true Christ followers do not sell out truth but neither do they shut out love.  Dan has struck up a friendship with Shane Windmeyer, an enemy?, a gay activist picketing Chick-fil-a, who Dan reached out to – not to convince Shane he was wrong, but to demonstrate to Shane what the love of Christ looks like and why that motivates convictions based on love, not hate.  The article is written by Shane and is worth reading 

Maybe we can follow Dan and Shane’s example.  Maybe law day and the national day of prayer don’t have to stand next to each other on a calendar and not say “hello”.  I’m not saying we have to embrace all lawyers or all laws, but I am saying let’s be a little kinder and look for opportunity to build bridges of understanding.  Let’s pray for the law.  Let’s pray for lawyers.  Let’s look for opportunity to support a ministry like Administer Justice.  Let’s demonstrate the love of Christ to hurting people who are trapped in our legal and government system in need of help and hope.