Nations and God

God of our fathersEpiphany
January 11, 2016

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 62:1-5

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
   and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
   and her salvation like a burning torch.
The nations shall see your vindication,
   and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
   that the mouth of the Lord will give. –Isaiah 62:1-2

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra opens its classics presentations with the playing and singing of the American National Anthem. Recently at the symphony, a young couple sat next to me, who spoke very good English as they excused their way past me to take their seats, but conversed with each other in what I think was Chinese. I guessed they were foreign exchange students and observed their attention increase when the internationally renowned guest pianist walked onto the stage. When the first note of the National Anthem played, the entire audience rose to our feet. The young couple also stood, it was a very polite and appropriate action even though they did not owe allegiance to our country and they most likely did not know the words to the song.

Isaiah’s writing for today made me wonder what is my allegiance to my country from the viewpoint of my faith. I am a very strong believer in the separation of church and state. Pleased to live in a free society that attempts to recognize the rights of all to follow the faith of their choice. I also understand how fragile nations are in the annals of history. It is important that we care for those things about our nation that are important to us. I am not talking about a façade of patriotism. I am talking about leaving a legacy of religious freedom for our posterity like my ancestors did for me.

It seems to me that God’s kingdom is founded on love and it is impossible to make anyone love another. I do not think God wants us to ever try to force anyone to love God. God loves each of God’s children and wants nothing more than to have that love reciprocated, but not by human manipulation. Christ’s partners in kingdom building are far more successful in introducing those, who do not know God, to God by loving them the way God loves each of us. We cannot legislate the Kingdom of God into reality.

Prayer: God so empower our ability to love each other that our nation is known for its love not its laws. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights