Who/what is an American? What does America mean to you and your faith?
Health care, immigration, taxes, school consolidation. As these issues play out in the American public square it is tempting to become more enslaved by them than freed to assist with them. Christians have the hope, however, of being freed from the politics of the issues, and freed to be good citizens of this fair land bringing a hope that is ultimately eternal, but utterly present.
Paul directs us with his words, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…but do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love (Gal. 5:1,13).” As citizens of a kingdom in which we have been set free from the condemnation, and the forever power of sin, and death, we are freed to be great Americans. We are free, however, not merely to openly worship, but to die for those around us, to forsake our dream that others might dream. We are free to fight for justice for the oppressed, adopt the orphan, provide a home to the homeless, and use our connections to help the jobless find work, the sick find care, and teach children to read. However, all too prevalent is the conviction that we were freed to prosper, to personally build a kingdom that extends charity without changing the way we dress, live, or vacation. A quick glance at our city and country would drive one to conclude that Christians were freed to ensure the private education of their own children, but merely hope for the best for the children of others. We were freed for better.
As another national birthday draws near, I am dreaming of a church no longer willing to be enslaved by the politics of her majority, but rather consumed by the needs of her neighbors. I am dreaming of a church so free and impassioned by the cost and sufficiency of her salvation that she gladly die that others might live. I am dreaming of a church so free that, instead of criticizing city schools, she mentors students. I am dreaming of a church so free that instead of bemoaning the crime rate she begins to visit and love the prisoner. I am dreaming of a church so free that she interrupts her worship style so as to welcome the nations.
I am dreaming, because as a Believer who is an American I am free to do this, and so much more. There was a day when the city rejoiced when and as the righteous prospered. It was so, because as the church prospered, so did the weak and broken through her generosity and sacrifice. So, on this July 4th, let freedom ring, but let it ring to the tune of a people using their freedom for the good of their neighbor, that all in this great land may prosper. Indeed, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free!