In a Gallup poll* taken June 2016, the military is the most trusted institution in our nation with 73% of respondents affirming that it has a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in it as an institution.
Small business is in second place with 68%, and the police come in third with 56%. The church/organized religion is fourth with 41%, but take note that it’s gone down 11% since 2006!
Other institutions in our society rate at:
Medical Care 39%
U.S. Supreme Court 36%
Public Schools 30%
Television news 21%
Big Business 18%
(Please note: these results were taken last Summer, before the Presidential election and Inauguration of a new administration.)
Gallop concludes: “Americans clearly lack confidence in the institutions that affect their daily lives: the schools responsible for educating the nation's children; the houses of worship that are expected to provide spiritual guidance; the banks that are supposed to protect Americans' earnings; the U.S. Congress elected to represent the nation's interests; and the news media that claims it exists to keep them informed.”
Trust was generally higher around 2000-2004 with an average of 43% having a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in our institutions. The average is now 32%. (Trust in congress had dropped from a high of 41% in 1986, to 7% in 2015.)
The lack of trust is epidemic in our society. And as a result we are living in an anxious and fearful times.
God has much to say to us about such worry and anxiety: “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matt. 6:25-27
And Paul in Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Peace in Christ is a major theme of the Bible and our whole religion. Yet all so often we find ourselves angry to the point of harming ourselves or others.
What is our faithful, Christian response to such a lack of trust all around us?
This is a topic of deep concern because without trust there is no faith. And without faith, our relationship with God through Jesus Christ is reduced to a rewards and/or punishment system.
“Faith comes from God in the form of a gift…” (Ephesians 2:8).
“Faith is the avenue or the instrument God uses to bring salvation to God’s people. God gives faith because of God’s grace and mercy, because God loves us.” (Ephesians 4—5).
But if we are not open to that love, if we do not trust and re-orient our lives to that love, then we do not trust.
We become alone and separated from God.
As Christians, we claim that our lives are transformed, freed from every changing passions and fads of daily life.
In doing so, we become citizens of Heaven, receiving some of the benefits of such a Holy Life right now. We become blessed with the loving consequences of that Godly relationship:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
In order for our world to be restored and renewed in God’s vision for it, in order for it to be transformed by love, we must be transformed by love. We must become disciples of Jesus Christ.
Our congregation is on a wonderful journey to learn what it means to be a disciple in the 21st Century. A group of us have been attending workshops, reading books, sharing in a focus group on Sundays and praying about our congregation. (You can join us. Email pastor terry with your interest. firstname.lastname@example.org)
Soon you will be hearing more about how we are rebuilding love and trust not only in our congregation, but in the world as well.
Our society deeply needs the hope, promise and strength that trust in Jesus Christ can give.
Join us as we meet weekly for worship, study and action. God is doing a mighty thing in the very midst of our world. And we are part of it.
What scripture has stayed with you this week?
What have others learned about Jesus Christ because of you?
How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace, Pastor Terry
p.s. Don’t forget: The anonymous “Real Discipleship Survey” found on our website; www.LancasterUnited.org is a great help in deepen your discipleship journey. Try it out!