But in all human terms, (as we all are here)..I can’t be Jesus here, (even close to) and in all honesty, don’t see any of us willing to do what Jesus did. That’s sad, but at the same time, is the real reason God sent Him to do it for us. He knows we are weenie humans….so grateful, yet ever failing.
Would we as Christians, still be willing to defend our country (as serving them), our families (as protecting them), and our freedoms that were God given, and risk our own lives to do so? Or should we be willing to stop doing all we can to preserve these blessings, (voting, serving our country, standing up for what’s right… etc) even if it means looking like “bad” Christians to others, in the process
I am glad that these sort of questions are asked, because it really is the heart of the message of the good news. It troubles me though how quickly disciples view American nationalism as “good Christian” behavior. To be sure, and this next line is terse and offensive, most soldiers don’t give their life for American freedom, rather, they have died trying to kill someone else, in order to live comfortably–let’s purge this American “innocence” from our speech. Comparing Jesus to American military is baffling. Jesus wasn’t killing people to ensure freedom. Jesus loved, proclaimed liberty to those who were bound by a cruel and unforgiving system of power, and embodied justice in his dealing with Israel, as such Jesus of the gospels is incompatible with militarism, and truly subverts our American self identity.
The very fact that we are so incensed at the portrayal, of Bush next to Bin Laded (our nationalism), or that Jesus would wash Bin Laden’s feet (our self righteousness), unmasks our cynicism, and it reminds us that we have work to do to embody the cross and the kingdom. As disciples of Jesus we cannot afford allegiance to a nation over against another–we cannot afford to substitute the message of Jesus with the message of Caesar (national security and self interest). God is a God of all and he loves the good and bad alike (and i’m not saying Bush is good and bin laden is bad), thus he loves Bin Laden as much as he loves me and you, and he calls us to love others as he does. We cannot excuse ourselves as “weak” and leave bearing the cross to Jesus, for without bearing our crosses we cannot even be Jesus’ disciples.
God has not called us to defend American rights and liberties, he calls us to follow Jesus and to be faithful witnesses of God, to take up the pleas of the poor and destitute, to work toward a community of shalom. Freedom comes from God only. American freedom if we are not careful can become the worst form of bondage, a bondage to self, a bondage of consumerism, and autonomy, and “freedom” to purchase everything that our sinful nature lusts after, freedom to bow before whatever idol we wish, and freedom to align ourselves with power structures in order to save our own skins, while subsequently cheapening the cross and grace. When Jesus sits on his throne (Matt 25) in judgment, he does not congratulate those who bomb other nations and kill innocent in the process, those who promoted American values, or those who served self interest and promoted American democracy (one nation isn’t exalted over another–in this scene America is right beside Afghanistan)
Rather it is how we love and treat people. Those who are in prison, those who are foreigners, homeless, hungry and thirsty–that is what the reign of God looks like in disciples. Shalom.