A City that is Not Our Own
God's people have always been on the move. Ever since the first foot stepped out of the boundaries of Eden, God's people have always been on their way to somewhere. Stopping just short of being nomads, the story of Israel is a woven tapestry of geographic locations. Whether by choice or by force - when they were taken captive - Israel's "home" often changed. The writer of Hebrews picks up on this theme of temporary dwelling and applies to all of God's people - both converted Jew and Gentile and says we have no lasting city. This is a message that gets lost on American Christians.
Since this is the greatest country in the history of everything, or that is the egocentric thinking, so we must establish it, protect, dwell in it, and most importantly keep everyone else who is not currently here out of it. Why? The most consistent answer I've come across is, "Because its ours." Our protection. Our economoy. Our employment, land, opportunities, and lifestyles. The love of America and the pursuit of the American Dream beckons us to focus solely on ourselves. I'm not sure how Jesus feels about this with his call to love others just as we love ourselves, but there you go.
It is not counterintuitive to think of the space you currently dwell as the place that is not your home. We may relocate across the country for a job but it is not home. But the idea of Nationality lends itself to something else entirely. We are taught from a young age about God, Country, and the Dallas Cowboys, or something like that. Part of our young identities are tied to national symbols of patriotism and pride. "We are Americans" means we are US citizens even though America has a North and South Continent and multiple countries under the name.
I love my country and you should, too. But if you are a Christian you CAN NOT love your country more than your home - the Kingdom of God that is here and that is to come. Even the silly sports phrase gets it right. It's God then country. That means that principles found in Scripture must be adhered to above any sentiment of patriotism. If not we are doing our real homes a real injustice.
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