Jan. 5, 2011
Today John Boehner became Speaker of the House of Representatives. As the cheers and hoo-rahs poured forth from the House floor and the visitors' gallery, the new Speaker smiled and said quietly, "It's still just me." Then he began his formal speech.
In an era when government has grown to almost imponderable proportions and pretense, it is nice to have someone in a senior leadership position who remembers where he is from and that political power is, however long in life-years, objectively very brief.
There are scores of new Members of Congress. Around the nation hundreds of new state legislators are being sworn-in as well. There is much to celebrate about this: The transfer of partisan power whose peacefulness we take for granted; a recent election that gave much cause for social conservative rejoicing; and the prospect of a more serious commitment to constitutional governance.
Yet --- as Isaiah 40 reminds us --- in God's sight, "nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales ... He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless."
In other words, political power is fleeting. When politicians recognize this --- as it seems John Boehner does --- a humbler, wiser, less arrogant government might well ensue. This will be especially true if the new Speaker, and all public servants, recall God's words about where true power lies:
"To whom then will you liken Me, that I would be his equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:25-26)