I’m proud of my Home Country. But it’s not the one you’re thinking of.
My Home isn’t subject to geographical boundary lines.
It doesn’t belong to one race or culture, but encompasses all.
It doesn’t diminish or even elevate some individuals over others- it is ruled by the equalizer of grace.
It doesn’t advance through violent force, but expands like a garden plant, quietly pushing through the existing realm of authority with beautiful fruit.
It is lead by the weak, the poor, the broken.
It can exist within any government, yet isn’t subject to any other authority.
Even in the midst of suffering or persecution, you can find peace and hope in its midst.
Its people aren’t held against their will by brute force or legislation, but are drawn of their own free will by sacrificial love.
It can’t die out- ever-because nothing can shake it or shut it down.
It’s people can never lose their citizenship because unlike any other earthly affiliation, My Home Country is a Kingdom that outlasts even death.
Its goal isn’t to conquer and subdue, but to liberate and renew.
It doesn’t pursue homogeneity but diversity.
It isn’t spread through flags, ships, or dominance, but through the Spirit that is gloriously unbound by such restraints.
You may have guessed…my Home Country…it’s the Kingdom of Heaven.
But trust me it isn’t just a happy pie-in-the-sky place for later. It’s here. It’s now. It’s real.
And even though the kingdoms and countries around us may be falling apart, dividing, stirring up fear, and leaving us questioning what we stand for- this Kingdom gives me hope because it is outside all of that. It is spiritual, yes, but it has the powerful capacity to create change even within these broken political systems, places, and circumstances we find ourselves in.
And while I may struggle with national pride or pride in my governing leaders, I can tell you I’ll never lose my allegiance to this Kingdom. I’ll never regret this Kingdom- never be embarrassed by the God who rules it- never cease to be proud of what it stands for: a freedom and justice that goes beyond anything we’ve ever witnessed in this physical world. I’ll never wake up and wonder whether this Kingdom is good for me and those around me. I’ll never need to be afraid here even if there’s plenty around me that gives reason to fear. My Kingdom is stronger and my God is bigger.
And that is the hope I’m standing in today.
Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 4:30-32 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
1 Peter 1:3-5 3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
All Scripture references taken from NIV version:New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
These thoughts flow partially out of reading a blog post where Roger Martin posed the question, “Can we ever love our country too much?” I encourage you to read his provocative post because I think he’s onto something. And please share your thoughts about your own hope when this world seems so broken. Is there anything that you place unflinching pride in?