Each year around the July 4th holiday, news columnists and TV “taking heads” want to debate whether or not the United States is a “Christian Nation.” The fact is that we have never truly been a Christian nation, even though a number of Christian principles were built into the Constitution. Many of the founding fathers of this nation believed in God, but they make little mention of Jesus.
Today, the United States is not even “Judeo-Christian” – if it ever was. In our neighborhoods, our schools, our work places, we have persons of Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, and other faiths; we also have a rapid rise of the “Nones” – those who profess no affiliation with any religious persuasion. Might we not even live in what some are calling a “Post-Christian America?”
So here is my question: What if we were a Christian nation? What if we were “one nation under God” – but under the God revealed to us in Jesus? What would that look like?
I suggest we would be a nation built primarily on servanthood and sacrifice.
Jesus said that the greatest among us will be the servant. Might it not also be true that the greatest nation among us would be a servant nation? Our role would not be one of control or managing, but one of servanthood.
A nation whose God is the one revealed in Jesus would not seek to bomb Assad’s government in Syria into submission. Instead, we would pour our resources into the massive refugee problem which has emerged around that county, A nation whose God is the one revealed in Jesus would not scream obscenities to children and women fleeing terror in Central America, but would welcome strangers and sojourners into our land. A fully Christian nation would be clearly different.
We would also lift up the value of sacrifice. Nobody wants to talk about sacrifice as a virtue any more—not the President, not the Congress, and certainly not the Wall Street and Banking crowd. But part of the Christian walk has always been one of sacrifice.
Two long wars are coming to an end right now—in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Yet most of us have never been asked to sacrifice for either one. No national call has gone out to help pay for the war on terror. Only a few have paid the price. As a recent editorial writer sadly commented, “The rich pay little for freedom.” If we were truly a nation under the God revealed in Jesus, we would hear a clear call for voluntary sacrifice.
So where does this leave the church? We in the church have the greatest task there is: to make sure that others think highly of our God. We represent the heart of God—with a serving, sacrificial profile. You and I in the Christian Community are signposts of what Christian leadership looks like.
We are the heartbeat and intent of the Creator in this free land. Jesus is the standard by which and to which we are called.
July 8, 2014