Our country is divided. I know this is not news to you. We find ourselves everyday separated into two camps. The blame, the vitriol, and cynicism gets tossed back and forth like the neck of a spectator at a tennis match. It’s enough to make you sick.
We are spinning our wheels in our pursuit to be right, and instead we become a part of the problem and not the solution. I don’t know about you, but I have been pushed to my limits in frustration. Hands thrown up in disgust with a deep sense of hopelessness have invaded my heart and mind.
Political divisions have been around since before America was born. There is nothing new under the sun here, but something different is happening. We are in a perfect storm, and the clouds are darkening and growing more ominous.
A slight break in the clouds emerged during the funeral of Congressional Representative John Lewis. This man was a bright spot during one of the most chaotic and challenging times of our country’s history. He fought for the reality of “all men are created equal,” and he made great sacrifices toward “a more perfect union.” He knew that all men and women are created in the image of God.
Two former presidents spoke at his funeral, a Democrat and a Republican. In a time of great division, they offered words of hope and challenge. Typically and especially in a crisis we look to our leaders to remind us that all is not lost. They remind us we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, and it’s worth believing in and fighting for.
President George W. Bush spoke about this with an eloquence that is missing from our leadership on both sides of the isle, “John and I had our disagreements, of course, but in the America John Lewis fought for, and the America I believe in, differences of opinion are inevitable elements and evidence of democracy in action. We the People, including congressmen and presidents, can have differing views on how to perfect our union, while sharing the conviction that our nation, however flawed, is at heart a good and noble one.”
President Barak Obama, likewise, pointed us to the reality that we are still a work in progress, “there is still more work to be done,” he noted. Did their words fall on deaf ears, I wonder?
In an attempt to make sense of the madness for my own sanity, I have been wrestling over how to respond in such a time as this. I care about the country I was born into, and long to see America flourish to be a shining example of a greater Kingdom.
Perhaps that is not the role of America, and it isn’t. America is not the hope for the world. Perhaps we are looking to America to be God for us. The greater Kingdom is not America, but the Kingdom of God. Truly it is a false hope to say that we can form “a more perfect union.” That is a great ideal to shoot for, and we should strive for excellence, but at the end of the day America will never compare to the glory and the righteousness and the justice of God’s Kingdom.
As a subject of this Kingdom and it’s King, Jesus Christ the Messiah, I am an ambassador. I represent Christ and His Kingdom while I live in America. I herald the Good News of my King, the one who came to this earth to live as a human being, yet fully God and without sin, in order to save us from our sinful desires and ultimate destruction.
The world is broken. America is broken. America began as a broken nation on the backs of slaves and at the expense of its native peoples. It continues to be broken. Pandemics, economic troubles, racism, conservatism, liberalism, all the “isms,” crack the soul of America like the Continental Divide putting up a barrier that runs deep and wide. America will not last, but God’s Kingdom is eternal.
“In God we trust,” is not just a banner on our dollar bills and quarters. It is the truth we must proclaim till Christ returns to fully establish His kingdom on earth. It’s okay to fight the good fight of faith in America. We are called to bring the good and glorious Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, not by our might, but by His Spirit.
Jesus is the hope of the world, and His church is the vehicle by which this hope will be carried across the world. It is not in the Constitution, Congress or the President.
We get to be peacemakers and bridge builders, bringing the gospel into every sphere of this life. In politics, we can be a voice of reason. We can fight for good without shouting and demanding it’s our way or the highway. We can make good compromises without compromising our souls. We can encourage other believers to become congressional representatives, and vote for people not based on political party, but on ideas and beliefs.
We can champion the family, support fathers and mothers in raising their children. We can adopt children who need a family. We can become teachers, lawyers, doctors, janitors and factory workers. We can stand alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ spreading the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed. We can do whatever God puts in front of us to do as unto God, and then others will see our good work, and give glory to the only One who deserves it.
We don’t have time for divisions. Let’s just get after it, put down our blind spots, forgo our judgments and stereotypes, pledge our allegiance to God alone, serve and love. One day, Christ will return and will bring His Kingdom to fulfillment making all things right. Until then, remember why we are here.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:17-21