I love the fireworks of 4th of July celebrations. One of my favorite summers was when I ran a fireworks stand with some of my students (and my Jamaican brother in law). I like the thought of living in a nation of freedom, where I am free to think and speak as I wish. A nation of possibilities for everyone. It truly is a privilege to have been born and to live here in the United States. One that I appreciate deeply.
But I’m also a citizen of another nation. We don’t claim independence, but rather complete dependence on our King. The preferred way to get things done is not democracy, but rather allegiance to the will of the King. We have no elected representatives, but there is a man whom the King chose to mediate between Himself and His people. This Kingdom is where my primary alliance lies – it is the Kingdom of God.
I’m reminded lately, that these two kingdoms are not the same. The United States of America is not the Body of Christ. “Americans” are not His chosen people – those who choose to follow Him are. Throughout the history of humanity, God has sought to bless all nations, not just one. Even ancient Israel was shown favor in order to extend that favor to the rest of the world. And so, He has chosen people from every tribe and nation to carry His standard and establish the presence of His Kingdom.
There is an argument brewing in America about whether we are a “Christian nation”. Definitely, our nation’s founding had certain Christian principles at its core*. But just as definitely, we are not a nation full of Christians. The danger in claiming this Christian nation status, is that we fail to recognize the need to continue to establish the presence of the Kingdom of God here in America.
This is a great country, and I’m so thankful to live here. But we cannot afford to equate America with Jesus’ church. Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations, but don’t forget as great as this nation is, her citizens still need a savior.