Tonight, at 9:00 pm (21:00 for you Europeans) EST, the President will address Congress (and the nation) via a yearly ritual called the “State of the Union Address”. Is there a parallel within Christianity?
Hopefully, you immediately began thinking of Passover, and how we are instructed to examine ourselves beforehand. That actually is a good parallel, and, using that as the starting point, I’d like to draw upon this metaphor a bit to informally illustrate how we should approaching this whole examination thing.
- The State of the Union is once per year, and Passover is once per year. They are both rituals, but rituals have meaning only as long as you respect the reason the ritual exists and perform it in the proper spirit.
The ritual is once per year, but it only highlights the sort of things that should be done throughout the year. Rituals are important because they are reminders. However, that doesn’t mean that what we should be reminded of can be forgotten throughout the year. The state of the country or our state of salvation cannot be relegated to merely a ritual once per year. The ritual is important, but it is meaningless if it doesn’t remind us of something so important we should be conscious of it all the time.
The State of the Union is supposed to tell us exactly that. However, with the advent of radio and TV, it has taken on more of a propaganda agenda rather than an honest assessment. As human beings, we can do the same when we look in the mirror and supposedly examine ourselves. We can lie to ourselves, and we can lie to others, but it is a more dangerous game. The President can fool the American public (or at least a part of it), but Christians cannot fool God.
The State of the Union has an audience. Have you ever considered who the audience is for our findings of our self-examination? Like charity, we should do our self-examination so that we can boast in front of other people, but even charity has an audience. God sees our heart and our actions, and like the rest of creation all we do should glorify God.
After the State of the Union address, it is traditional for the opposing party (in our two party system) to have a response speech. Is there a parallel in the spirit world? I’m sure that after we have finished our self-examination that we have an enemy who will gleefully present anything that was missed or can be slanted in order to accuse us further.
Of course, no metaphor is perfect, and especially when one of the objects is so political in nature. However, it is the self-deception in that political nature that should be a warning as to how we can easily fool ourselves.