Is There a Balm in Washington?

It is easy to become cynical about whether God is even present in Washington, D.C. anymore. With all the hate speech, violence, polarized gridlock, and ungodly laws and policies, one could conclude that God’s Spirit no longer resides inside the beltway. But, let’s take a deep breath and look at the evidence that He is still present and active at the world’s power center.

In the seventh century BC, the nation of Judah was rejecting God, worshiping other gods and things, and celebrating immoral lifestyles. The prophet, Jeremiah, was warning them constantly against the direction the nation was headed. He wrote, “Is there no balm in Gilead?” Gilead was a city famous for its healing balm, or ointment, considered essential medication and exported widely. Jeremiah was asking rhetorically if God’s healing powers had been removed from Judah.

With the depressing craziness observed in America’s capital city, we might ask the same question. Obviously, our three branches of government have essentially rejected God and biblical precepts. However, there is still reason for hope. This past Monday, 30 evangelical leaders visited the White House having been invited to discuss various issues with liaison, Jennifer Korn. Vice President Pence and Jared Kushner dropped in. Then, to the surprise of everyone, President Trump called them into the Oval Office where they prayed for him at length.

Each day’s session of Congress is opened with a prayer by a clergyman. Many congressional committee meetings begin with a prayer. There are numerous prayer groups of officials in all branches that meet regularly for prayer time and fellowship. I had the privilege of attending one of those. Jesus said,  “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” So, God must still be in the midst of Washington.

On the exterior of the Supreme Court building is the sculpture of Moses and the Ten Commandments. In the capitol building’s rotunda, large paintings depict our Christian heritage. Engraved in gold letters above the House Speaker’s rostrum are the words, “In God We Trust.” The Capitol Prayer Room contains an open Bible on an altar and a stained glass rendering of Washington in earnest prayer. Behind him is etched the first verse of Psalm 16, “Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust.” Many other buildings in the area including the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials contain affirmations of dependence on God.

A recent post on this blog highlighted the honoring of God in the Declaration of Independence. I believe America’s founding fathers and an abundance of founding documents laid a foundation upon which was built the heritage that still shapes our government’s guiding principles.

Our government’s respect for the Creator is not what it once was and should be, but I am confident there is still a balm in Washington that can heal our land. May we be spared the fate of Judah which was destroyed for its rejection of God Who made it His chosen nation .


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