Prior to last night’s news (Osama Bin Laden Killed ) I was wrestling with our place on earth. Three threads met to give me pause about the implications of the life of a sojourner. First was the release by our President Obama of his long form birth certificate. Then twice in my daily readings in Hebrews did I encounter the truth that we do not belong on this earth but are merely passing through: “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come” (13:14). Finally my sermon text for Sunday, 1 Peter 1:3-9 , pointed me once again to the inheritance that is being kept for me by the power of God in heaven.
I understand why the “birthers” are so caught up in looking for a means by which to depose our leader. I find his Christianity false and his policies poor choices for a prosperous nation. While their quest is certainly grasping at straws, non-the-less they do so because they oppose the direction he desires to lead us. So how do I, a citizen of a higher kingdom, fit into this scheme? Do I ignore the things of the world? Do I use all my resources to combat what seems to be wrong in my society? The Holy Spirit speaking through both the author to the Hebrews and Peter certainly causes me to take pause and seriously consider the priorities of my allegiances.
Now a momentous event shakes the world. Network TV shows are interrupted, and the President addresses the nation. Crowds of seemingly young American citizens crowd the mall in front of the White House and fill New York’s Times Square, flags waving from their jubilant, outstretched arms. Chants of “USA, USA, USA” echo off the architecture and are broadcast around our global village by the national and international media.
Once again I am faced with the question. I want to be proud of the accomplishments of our intelligence resources and the brave young Navy Seals who acted decisively when called upon. I want to pump my victory fist in the air and wave my flag, too. I suppose I can. But as with the “birther” issue and now with what some are calling the “deather” issue (Show me the body) I believe it is critical that I not forget whose I am and where my true home is. I think it’s okay to be happy on this day that I am a citizen of the United States of America. But woe be unto me if in doing so I forget that “this world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.”
It is certainly not “neither nor”; it is most definitely “both and” as long as the emphasis is on “the city that is to come” and the “living hope” and “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for” me.