[Tomorrow we celebrate Independence Day here in the States, and I am running a post today from my archives. I also recommend you read Laura Droege’s excellent post on her experience at church last Sunday; she describes vividly what can happen when a church loses its way in unbridled patriotism.]
Years ago, soon after I became a Christian, I had a conversation with a youth pastor. The 4th of July was coming up and he said that he thought patriotism was very Godly. I asked, “What about citizens in Nazi Germany?”
“Ummm … so maybe not always,” he said.
I said, “Maybe not even here in the United States.”
Don’t get me wrong. I know I am blessed to live here, and that there are a lot of worse places to live in this world. I’m glad to be here. On top of that, it’s biblical to be under the authority of earthly rulers and act accordingly. (See, for example, Mark 12:13-17, Romans 13:1-7 and Titus 3:1.)
But we should not think that this is the ultimate good. As Jesus told Pilate when facing earthly judgment:
My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. (John 18:36.)
Paul explained that for those who belong to Jesus, our citizenship too is in heaven with our Savior Jesus. (Philippians 3:20.) That is good news for us all, and it gets even better – if that is possible.
Because did you notice that word “now” in Jesus’ statement to Pilate? “But now,” he said, “my kingdom is from another place.” Jesus qualified his statement because in the future he’s going to bring heaven and earth together into a single kingdom:
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15.)
So it turns out we can love our earthly home eternally and above all others, because that’s the home Jesus is preparing for us.