Veteran’s Day: The Tale of Two Citizenships

Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone out there.   I know we all thank God for those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

I can’t help but have Ft. Hood and the memorial service on my mind today.  I watched the moving ceremony as thousands of members of the Ft. Hood family gathered to say good-bye to 13 of their comrades who had been murdered.

I was impressed when President Obama acknowledged that the shooter would find justice in eternity and even on this earth.  I was also impressed with his insight when he said no faith condones murder and the senseless taking of life for any reason.  That a loving God does not smile on such things.

A lot of people want to make it “Muslim vs. Christian” or “Muslim vs. The World.”   But let’s be honest.  There are enough religious nuts in every religious camp for us to point fingers at each other every day.  So let’s not do that.  Let’s pause for a minute and make a distinction.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I do everything I possibly can to shun religion.  I think religion is harmful and painful, and can justify any kind of outrageous behavior.  Religion can even be pure evil in the wrong hands.  But what I do advocate as a follower of Jesus, is acknowledge that we are indeed citizens of two countries.

As a follower of Jesus, I believe I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom that God Himself is building, a Kingdom characterized by redemption, reconciliation, and restoration; not war, unbridled consumption and selfishness.

I am also a citizen of The United States of America, one that has a long heritage, but one I can also acknowledge has committed many sins itself.

So here I am, a citizen of two nations: the Kingdom of God, and The Untied States of America.  The question is, “Who do I owe allegiance?”  And the response to that can come straight from Jesus when he said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”  So here are my thoughts on Veteran’s Day.

As a citizen of The United States of America, I have a responsibility to make of her the best I can; to be a participator, to take responsibility, to work hard, to pay my taxes, and to promote the good.  My nation is, in part, mine to make or break.  So in some sense, we’re all nation-makes, culture-builders who are put here to work hard and make something.  That means working together: working with black, white, Asian, and any other color you can think of, for the common good.  There is no conflict in this citizenship and my citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

In the Kingdom of God, it is not mine to make.  It is God’s to make.  The moment I think God has left the building and handed me the keys, and I’m to force-fit everyone in the world into my way of thinking, I become the problem.  I’ll remember that in this Eternal Kingdom that I am a part of, that God is building it as He chooses, on His time, and in His way.  I need not force anyone to give me compliance.

I don’t need to condemn, cajole, or even try to win people to Jesus.  He can do all those things by Himself.  What I am to do is to love in His name, be good in His name, promote welfare in His name, be a peacemaker in His name; to bring about redemption, reconciliation, and restoration in His name.  I’ll let Him do the building.

So on Veteran’s day I say, “Yea God” for this great nation, and “Yea” to all my fellow citizens.  Let’s make of her something worthy of the sacrifice that has been paid.  And to my other Kingdom, the Eternal Kingdom of God, a city built not by the hands of man; I’ll let God do the building and I’ll do the serving.

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