Fourth of July & The Kingdom of God
I was reading today from a blog post created by one of my favorite authors and thought leaders, Seth Godin.
Godin wrote something profound about freedom that I found completely applicable to what I was thinking about this July 4th morning. He wrote:
It turns out that if you have the power to make rules, the rules are your responsibility.
If you have the freedom to make choices, the choices are your responsibility.
And if you have the ability to change the culture, to connect with others, to make a ruckus, then yes, what you do with that is your responsibility as well.
But whatever we do, if we have the independence to do it (or not) is our responsibility.For those of us who claim to follow Jesus, we need to be mindful of our own responsibilities as they relate to our freedom, and to whom we pledge our allegiances.
As Christians, our allegiance is not to governments, nations, political parties or the politicians who operate within those political parties. Our allegiance is to Christ and to the kingdom of God he spoke so much about.
Jesus talked about the kingdom of God more than he talked about any other topic.
Jesus talked about the kingdom of God more than heaven, hell, marriage and money--the things that so many Christians seem to be concerned about more than anything else.
So many of the conversations that divide Christians from others seem to be centered around ideas of freedom, and allegiances and what the Bible has to say about them.
The Apostle Paul stepped into a conflict involving ideas of freedom and allegiances in his letter to the Corinthian church. He wrote that while they had the freedom to do as they desired, their freedom shouldn't lead them to do things that tear down rather than build up.
For those of us who claim to follow Jesus, our ideas of freedom and independence should be tempered by whether our actions result in the advancement of God's kingdom and the furthering of God's shalom, or peace in the world--as opposed to the kingdoms of this world.
As citizens of the kingdom of God, and bearers of the Spirit of Christ we have a responsibility to first and foremost pursue shalom, and the common good with our words and our deeds.
We are at our most patriotic when our love for country is permeated with our desire for God's kingdom to be made known on earth as it is in heaven.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.