Merle Haggard, Barack Obama, Rainbow Stew, Utopia, and Easter

Eatin' rainbow stew in a silver spoon,Underneath that sky of blue. We'll all be drinkin' free bubble-ubb, An' eatin' that rainbow stew.

Reading the news —and the divergent opinions— regarding health care reform and the general direction of the country, that old Merle Haggard tune came to mind. It reminded me to beware the governmental promise of Utopia.

For millennia, across oceans, on every continent, mankind has sought the best way to build a peaceful and prosperous life for himself. Every form of government imaginable has been tried, from despotism to theocratic monarchies to communism to democracy. Some have gone better than others; but none has been perfect. Each has been marred by failure. Most have trudged down a rough road to ultimate collapse and oblivion— a road paved with good intentions, high hopes, and empty promises.

America now stands at a crossroads. Two very different groups— each pointing in the opposite direction— say they know the way. If we will just believe, behave, and follow, we will find joy, peace, and prosperity. While I decidedly favor one group's ideals over the other, I do not believe that either will lead us to a place free of conflict and crisis.

As much as I revere the men who founded and shaped America— men of vision, insight, and utter greatness; men with names like Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and Washington— I do not place my ultimate hope for peace and meaning to my life even in the document they forged or the legacy they left.

As great as I believe the United States Constitution to be, there is a collection of writings as superior to it as the heavens are high above the earth. It is the Book that influenced the lives of most of those men so profoundly as to impact the kind of nation they envisioned, the kind of government they desired, the kind of freedom for which they yearned.

As we approach the event that separates the Founder of Christianity from every other religious leader the world has known, I am reminded that real peace only comes through and from the Prince of peace and true prosperity is measured by eternal measures and not temporal.

Nations rise and crumble. Governments come and go. Mouths that declare their own wisdom today are silenced tomorrow.

But Jesus lives...and because He does, hope and love will never die. And that reminds me of another tune...

Happy Easter.

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