Remarks delivered by Jennifer Copeland at a December 15 press conference in Raleigh on the General Assembly’s second special session.
For Christians around the world it is the third week of Advent, more than halfway through the season we designate as a time to think seriously about the kind of leader we want and the kind of leader we need. Sometimes, those are not the same thing – what we want and what we need. Sometimes when we get what we want – these people were elected after all, sort of – it turns out not to be what we need…
What do we need? There’s a consistent thread in the biblical witness, offered to us by the wise people who reflected for centuries on which kind of leader works best when measured against God’s call for justice and righteousness. Like strands woven together to make one strong chord, those biblical themes come to a head in the chorus sung by choirs around the world quoting Isaiah:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the . . . kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Authority rests upon the shoulders of this General Assembly, but they are not wise counselors for they are not listening to the will of the people. Their authority grows continually, but theirs is a power hungry grab for authority and not the authority of earned respect.
The sad truth in this third week of Advent is there is no justice and righteousness in the land of North Carolina. Justice and righteousness don’t come about because we all sing the Hallelujah chorus of Handel’s Messiah together or light the Gaudet candle signaling our joy in God’s promises. Justice and righteousness come about because leaders earn their authority by demonstrating wise counsel, because leaders fulfill God’s promises. And when leaders don’t live up to the calling of their elected service, we’re here to remind them they serve the people of NC.
They serve people who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They serve people who deserve justice. The NC Council of Churches is here representing the “zeal of the lord of hosts.” All across NC, churches are filled with the “zeal of the lord of hosts.” We, the zealous ones, require of our leaders: wise counsel, appropriate authority, justice and righteousness for all. We call on these leaders to “establish and uphold it . . . from this time onward and forevermore.” Thank you.