Today Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.
I, for one, will not be watching. My New Year’s Resolution was to avoid all news of Trump, being how it was making me feel depressed and anxious. But no doubt that will prove to be impossible to maintain as a firm resolution.
Maybe I’ll have to commute my resolution to avoiding senseless wrangling in the media over Democrats vs. Republicans, and the doom-mongering that inevitably accompanies most UK coverage, and many ‘liberal’ commentators.
In an ideal world we’d be able to read news that was merely factual, to keep abreast of important global developments, without the spin, invective, fear, and depressing titbits on Twitter (although Trump endorsing a Tweet about his daughter that was replicated 1000s of times and mistakenly addressed to a random lady living in Brighton, UK, also called Ivanka, was quite funny).
One reason for not avoiding Trump-related news altogether has been troubling me today, however, in the form of Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopalian Church. He recently urged Christians to pray for Trump, as Christians have always done for leaders, whether they agree with them or not. Curry, the first African American Presiding Bishop, said that during the civil rights movement, African Americans would pray in church for those who were oppressing them, then get off their knees and go and march against racial injustice.
Which is humbling. Of course he’s right. Praying for leaders means knowing what they’re up to and caring for their effect on us all. And trusting that God is still ‘working his purpose out as year succeeds to year…’
Another reason for praying for Trump (yes, I’m still finding it hard to even type his name) is that I myself also need prayer. I’m always struck by how frequently the current Pope asks for prayer. “Pray for me”.
Pray for me simply because all the dark things I fear in our leaders I cannot claim to be entirely free from myself. Pray for me because I am judgmental. Pray for me because I am sometimes unpredictable, ornery and self-obsessed.
So, pray for Trump: pray for me.