June 13, 2011
Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
Many thanks to Reverend Kurt Klaus of Mounds View, Minnesota, for calling this article to my attention.
When I write the Daily Devotions, there are times when I'm hard pressed not to get facetious.
One of those times came this week when a federal judge agreed with a parent who said hearing any religious expression during his son's graduating ceremony would cause "irreparable harm."
The judge agreed so strongly that he ruled the word "amen" could not be used. He ordered the words "invocation" and "benediction" be replaced with "opening remarks" and "closing remarks." He ordered the word "prayer" not be used in the ceremony. Then the judge said anyone who broke his rulings would be accused of "contempt of court."
Not only was the judge's ruling an insult to religion, it was a violation of free speech. You see, Angela Hildenbrand had planned on giving a prayer as part of her valedictorian speech.
Now this is where the facetious part comes in. I started to wonder what date they would put on the program. The dates in our Western calendar are based on Jesus' birth. David Lanius, a brilliant man at Lutheran Hour Ministries headquarters, wondered what they will do when they come to a biblical name like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Simon, Stephen. Do they just leave the name blank and yell, "Come on down!"?
Then I got to wondering why I never heard of this parent before. Did he not object to his son hearing the name of "Jesus" being used in an inappropriate way at the movies and on television? Did he sue the movie studios for the harm they did to his son, or is it just the Christian Church he was after?
Apparently, and as of this writing, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, along with the Texas attorney general has seen that judge's decision reversed.
I'm glad they did.
That's because I agree with St. Paul who said the Name of Jesus is above that of any other. Indeed, it is so sacred its very mention ought to cause all of creation to bow in respect; it is so holy every tongue ought to confess Jesus' Lordship.
And if anyone were to ask -- as that Texas parent ought to be asking -- "What makes the Name of Jesus so important?" Scripture provides the answer. Jesus' Name is sacred because He is God's Son who was sacrificed so that all who believe on Him will not perish. Jesus' Name is holy because all who are brought to faith in Him are forgiven and given the promise of eternal life.
Now I doubt if Hildenbrand can say that in her speech, but I wish she would. And I pray that if she did, those who are there would kneel in respect and then rise in applause.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, may believers in our country be free to acknowledge You as Lord and may unbelievers be given a faith that rejoices in Your gracious gifts. In Your Name I pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries