Read Romans 13:1-7
The Honourable Chief Minister, Speaker, all State Ministers and members of Legislative Assembly of Nagaland State, present here. As the State Chaplain, I humbly accept the previlege you have extended to me to share a joint moment of spiritual meditation, a time of worshipping our Creator and to acknowledge His authority over us before you begin the State Assembly sessions on this day March 15, 2005.
As you have completed two years of your political duties, whatever be the times, struggles or successes, be grateful to God and the people you serve because you are what you are because of the support they have given you.
I share these thoughts from the Holy scriptures - The Bible. Let us meditate on what Romans chapter 13 speaks to us today as we go about our political duties. Paul was then writing to the Christians perhaps nearing the times of the Roman Imperial under Nero, the persecutor of Christians in the first century. Jesus himself and Paul, his contemporary, saw and experienced that Rome’s authority or all authority was merely of delegated authority. Ultimate authority belongs to God. Human Government is not merely a human invention, it is ordained of God for the welfare of people. Citizens have obligations to obey the laws not for fear of civil penalties but more out of clear conscience to obey God.
The two main works of the government is the employment of the sword and the collection of taxes. The term “Sword” means a government executing the penalties of disobedience which may cover capital punishment and even declaration of war. In managing human affairs, rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet and good citizens but to evil doers. It is our duty to uphold the rule of law in an established government with a clear conscience toward God and not merely from the fear of punishment.
In the given text the word “Government servants” actually means “Government deacons”. Because deacon or “diakonos” in N.T. Greek means to serve or to minister. In this way government managers and church managers are deacons alike to minister, to serve the citizens through their ministries. The word of God therefore calls me in the church and you in the political field to carry out God’s purpose in our ministries or by serving people for their welfare. That is why believers give tithe or give contributions so also Government receive taxes, finances or resources, to benefit the citizens. The Budget session deliberations are now before you with these challenges.
The Bible does not support a blind absolute divine right of rulers or monarchies but that they have obligations to discharge God given duties. The word of God clearly implies that if rulers fail to discharge their given duties, they may be disobeyed and even replaced. This was why Peter said, “we ought to obey God rather than men”. The midwives of Egypt and Moses’ parents disobeyed Pharaoh. Government is ordained of God, therefore it should be in harmony with God given laws. This is how we are bound together by the Ten Commandments in our human relationship which in essence is, ‘love one another or do for others what you want them to do for you’. If we fail one another, the seed of revolutions is sown. That is, the misuse of power and resources, oppressive laws and anti-people conditions, corruptions can give rise to very unpeaceful situations.
The spirit of democracy, the power delegated to the MLAs to be more closely related to their constituencies as seen in the recent downsizing of ministries and more power to the people in human management at all levels have their principles rooted in the Bible. It exhorts us to put on “the armour of light - the mind of Jesus Christ” in all our dealings and relationship. Let us be aware spiritually and politically to minister our people with clearer confidence as His word speaks to us.
God bless you.
15th March, 2005
Rev. Deo Vihienuo
Nagaland Legislative Assembly, Kohima