Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Verse of the Day

Hebrews 13:17

Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.


One could debate whether or how authority can be justified.

However, for the purpose of this post I don't want to go there ; but, simply take it as the brute and inescapable fact that it is.

Whether we like it or not everybody has to answer to somebody or as Bob Dylan musically reminds us in all its sundry and various ways "You gotta serve somebody".

"I didn't ask to be born" goes the taunt of a teenager who has just been told he cannot do something. Whether it is a mother or a father, nobody enters into the world not without someone in authority looking down on them.

What I want to explore is how someone who is the object matter of somebody else's 'authority' ought to view himself and that person.

'Obey' and 'submit' is what we are commanded. It probably makes it easier to remember, when we are irritated and unwilling to 'submit' or 'obey' that these people must give 'an account'. If we acknowledge that state of affairs for the one in authority then we can help him or consider how we can help him as far it is in our power to do so.

That insight, I believe, gives us some motivation for our 'obedience' and 'submission' which is also perhaps self-affirming in some fundamental way. It also gives us a framework for discerning the limits and/or the legitimacy of the kind of authority under which we might find ourselves.

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