The church needs to be careful about allowing nationalism and patriotism to influence our lives. They are dangerous sirens that would distract us from our mission. Yet, that doesn’t mean we disrespect the place where we live. The captives in Babylon were told: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7) As we live out our exile, I think we should do the same.
Therefore, I do think we should do the following:
- Be thankful for the country in which we live. We should be thankful for all good things that God puts into our lives. Riches are a danger, but that doesn’t mean we should seek poverty. Comfort can be an idol, but self-inflicted suffering is not the answer. We humbly accept when God puts good things into our lives, including the possibility to live in a safe and prosperous nation. And, as with all other blessings, our goal is not to keep that safety and prosperity for ourselves, but to share it with others around us.
- Pray for those who serve in the military. As I commented on yesterday’s post, I think that includes all who serve in the military, not just the U.S. military. But it certainly doesn’t exclude those who are in the U.S. armed services; many of them have suffered greatly because of their jobs.
- Pray for all leaders. Again, I think it’s wrong to limit our prayers to those who govern within the borders of the United States. The Bible says to pray for all people everywhere and to pray for those in power. I think those things go together.
I will be respectful toward the United States, just as I was respectful toward Argentina when living as an alien there. In both countries, I am an ambassador of God, serving in a diplomatic mission. I won’t favor any nation of this earth over any other, for my homeland awaits me, in the city that God is preparing.