It is July 3rd and tomorrow millions of people will express their patriotism.
Patriotism brings people of the same country together–giving them something in common, something around which they can unite.
But what exactly is Patriotism?
Patriotism is a sense of dedication to one’s country. It is loyalty, sharing the values on which the country is founded, standing up for that country when it is threatened. It is not jingoism or blind acceptance of whatever the country does.
So, should disciples of Christ be patriotic? I say yes. Of course that assumes that disciple understands a basic truth. A disciple’s country is NOT America, Canada, England, Mexico, Israel, Saudi Arabia or any other political entity of this world.
The Disciple of Jesus is a citizen of the Kingdom of God. So, my patriotism is not about America (if you still believe there is some kind of equivalence of America and the Kingdom of God please read earlier posts on the subject). I am extremely patriotic–with regard to the Kingdom of God and it’s ruler, Jesus, The King. All my loyalty is to Him. His values by definition must be mine. And I share this patriotism with every person who belongs to Jesus.
As our country–and many of us–celebrate the 4th of July (a holiday based in sin according to the Bible–look it up before you get mad at me for saying that!), how should Disciples of Jesus express our patriotism?
Perhaps we should celebrate our belonging to our country as publicly as many celebrate their citizenship in the U.S.
Perhaps we should be certain we can name the great traits of the Kingdom and invite others to be part of it.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves whether we are personally devoted to our King–and whether that devotion is as obvious to others as our celebration of the 4th is.
Perhaps we should be certain to teach our children and grandchildren about the Kingdom and its history–much as many do regarding the history of the U.S.
Above all, we should be certain we understand that our citizenship in the Kingdom of God is not something that will happen in the future, but something that is a reality now. And that Jesus made it clear He will not be one of many–or even two–to whom we are loyal. Patriotism to the Kingdom of God demands that we do not have split loyalty between that Kingdom and the country of the world in which we live. We can not serve two masters. Our master is Jesus, and our loyalty to Him is exclusive.
To my American friends I say “Happy July 4th”. I hope you have a great day, and that someday you become a citizen of my country and share with me the joy of serving our King!