The past several weeks the country has been deeply divided by the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. After having been charged in the House of Representatives, the Senate convened and yesterday it acquitted President Trump of both charges.
Regardless of which side of the political aisle you identify with, it is beyond the scope of TBTB to weigh in about the outcome. For sure, both sides could have conducted themselves with more dignity and respect. There was clearly open hostility and and both sides tried to “spin” various aspects of the trial to suit their own political agendas. Constitutional scholars were brought in to offer opinions on the historical precedents of impeachment and how this trial compared to several other impeachment proceedings in this country’s history.
I found the legal and historical perspectives very interesting, both during the House proceedings – and then in the Senate. This second phase of the impeachment was presided over by Chief Justice Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court – a rule of law that was meant to bring in an objective third party to oversee the Senate trial.
Needless to say, there were points of law that tended to drag on and on – sometimes for the benefit of the viewing public and the television exposure. Senators just really seemed to love asking questions, more than 180 of them, and listening to themselves speak to the camera.
But tonight, I want to focus on several of the last words spoken before the Chief Justice adjourned the hearing. As things drew to a close, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to adjourn “sine die.” I have never heard this term before and so I was very interested to find out what it means.
Well, sine die (pronounced sin-ay dee-ay), is an adverb and means to “adjourn without a time to re-convene.” In other words, the Senate was closing down without a date or time to come back in session – to leave without fixing a time for any future actions or meetings. After all the time spent on the impeachment, I was surprised that there is no specific plan to come back together.
But I also know that there are many times that we are guilty of adjourning sine die. Have you ever started a book, set it down and not finished it? How about a hobby that you were passionate about and then, one day, you just didn’t go back to it again… those are both examples of sine die – we leave something without a time to get back to it…
One of the areas that this can be most problematic is in our faith lives. Have you ever just stopped going to church without setting a time to return? Or about that Bible study – we quit or finish – and that is that. We don’t have the discipline to say when we will return. Now I don’t think the Senate took the phrase so literally, but when studying the history and context of the phrase, I couldn’t help but apply it to our spiritual lives.
The Bible encourages us never to stop “sine die.” Our verse for tonight affirms this. Solomon, the author of the Proverbs, tells us, in Proverbs 3:5-8, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
My encouragement tonight is that God never wants us to leave Him without a date and time of return. My prayer is that we will all keep God in the forefront of our minds and realize that, as far as our spiritual lives are concerned, we never want to leave “sine die…” Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…