Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion & Democracy. He is the author of Taking Back The United Methodist Church, published in 2008, and Methodism and Politics in the 20th Century.
By Mark Tooley
Justifiably the President always gets the most media attention at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. But this year a follow-up lunch featuring Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio may have been more surprising and interesting.
The National Prayer Breakfast is actually a 24 hour event including several meals involving several thousand participants, about 20 percent of whom come from overseas. Attenders and speakers are overwhelmingly Christian, although the event is interfaith and includes Jews and Muslims in the program. Rubio’s lunch remarks today were more like a sermon and focused on Jesus.
Rubio preached on 4 lessons from Jesus in the context of public service. The first lesson was Jesus’ “turning the notion of power on its head” by redefining true power as service to others. “Power is not from your station in life but your influence on others,” he said.
The second lesson from Jesus is “always speak the truth,” Rubio said. “Often in public life we are called to speak unpopular truths,” he noted. “Truth often has a tremendous price.”
Jesus’ third lesson was that the “power you have is not really yours,” Rubio said. “How you use it you’ll be held accountable for.” Persons in public service should use their “political capital” for “righteousness” and justice, not self-promotion.
The fourth lesson from Jesus is that work properly understood is a continuation of worship. “Everything we do can be worship,” Rubio said. “The most important goal is approval from God” and appealing to the ultimate “audience of one.” He warned, “If God’s not applauding, we should cry about that.”
Rubio concluded by declaring that Jesus offers much more than lessons for life. “Jesus the man is also my Savior and the only way I’ll get to heaven,” he said. The audience filling a large hotel ballroom responded with a standing ovation.Google+