“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”
The President listened to the reading with interest, surrounded by Secret Service agents in the balcony of First Presbyterian Church. The presidency, he mused, more than almost any other job, called for personal sacrifice and putting others first. The job itself was brutal, leaving its mark on the prematurely aged faces of all who held it, and this campaign season was particularly trying. No one would subject himself and his family to such an ordeal without a sense of higher calling.
The reader sat down and the pastor got up to speak. “Nothing is easier to say and harder to carry out than these words of the apostle Paul. On this day, as we welcome the President of the United States to our church and our city, let us try to understand what it means for us in a world inconceivably more complex than the one in which they were written.”
I wonder if even he knows how true that is, thought the President. Early in his career, situations arose that seemed to pit his duties as a politician against his faith. He had known some who could not reconcile the two and had walked away from either the one or the other. Finding a way to be an effective public servant while staying true to his faith had been his first real accomplishment and had enabled him, he believed, to rise to the highest office.
“Some have interpreted ‘turn the other cheek’ to mean war is never an option—better to be crushed by your enemy than to prevail at the cost of your soul. I do not hold that view, but it contains an element of truth.”
Indeed, thought the President. War was truly a last resort. God knows I made many personal calls to the Premier, but the man was stubborn as an ox and twice as thick. Only when it became clear that our interests would never be achieved any other way did I authorize the secret assassination that provoked their attack on our embassy. It’s an unfortunate way to drive events in the needed direction, but unprovoked aggression would never have won international support.
“In this campaign season, let us always remember to honor each other, even those with whom we disagree, knowing in humility that no one has all the answers. If you are a Republican, think to yourself, ‘how can I love a Democrat today, and regard him or her as more important than myself.’ Likewise, if you are a Democrat, seek out a Republican to honor today. Did the good Samaritan inquire after the political leanings of the man assaulted on the road? Did Jesus offer himself up only for the Jews, or for all people?”
This pastor is very good, though the President. He gets it. A president is a servant of all, not just a representative of his party. That is one thing my opponent will never understand. Fortunately tomorrow’s press leak will fatally damage his campaign. Who knew he’d be so vulnerable to such a simple trap? That in itself argues against his fitness to lead the nation. It just took one prostitute.
“And finally, Lord, we ask for the strength to do what’s right, no matter the personal cost to us. Amen.”
The President rose to leave. Amen, he thought. Amen.