Yet again there is an uprising of indignation. Another round of hairy vest and sackcloth. Flagellation the solution to righteous indignation. National pride and ownership bemoaned. How can my country call itself a Christian Nation when it does this? How can I call myself a Christian and be a proud (fill in nationality) when my country does this?
I find this chest-beating odd.
So often I read about disillusionment with local churches, pastors and congregations. All the isms and ologies argued and debated as though “God” depended on us defending a certain “belief structure” as vital to His own existence. So often I read about individuals within the “religious structure” doing harm to others.
And now I find this national chest-beating odd. I find an oddness with so much of this God Stuff in every dimension of our living.
The complacency and sleep-walking. The desire to align with those like-minded, like-living, like-thinkers as us. At a personal, local, ideological and global level. We align ourselves with labels, banners, soundbites, and the trivia of self-absorbing comfort zones. Safe to poke at others. Safe to fire off the odd salvo. Our worldview interrupted when it comes closer to each of us than our comfort zones allow.
The war on terror. A soundbite if ever I heard one.
Yet think back to the horror and revulsion. When that war on terror is brought to our streets. When the war on terror has the temerity to park itself in our own back yards! How dare they do that to us! How dare they rock our safe comfortable world. How dare they make me feel unsafe, make me eager to be fearful! So we track them down, we hunt them down, we applaud taking the war to them. See how they like it. Make sure they know if they attack us we will awe and shock them right back. Never mind the “collateral damage” we prefer to ignore. Never mind the darkness we enter as we pursue the darkness we perceive. We need to feel safe. We need to show them they cannot do that to us.
My country is Christian! I am a Christian! I celebrate unconditional love! I love unconditional love! And if they don’t – then they will feel the full force of our technologically superior, morally superior, righteously superior anger. We will take our unconditional love to them as we use our laser guided missiles, our remotely controlled drones, our flawed intelligence, our calculated killing zones. They will know!
And now? We find we have dirty hands. We entered the darkness and then someone went and switched on the lights! And showed us what we preferred to ignore.
And our response? How can my country do this?
My safe hindsight and my comfort zones are being pricked again! And this time it is my country doing the pricking to me. I am a Christian! My country is Christian! How dare they let me down!
I was born and raised in England. Our collection of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England has a strong bond. Together my country ruled a large part of the world. We called it the Empire. And as rulers of the world we were a proud nation. We all went to church. We were civilised Christians bringing order and justice to an uncivilised world. We liked to sample their resources and bring them back here. We liked to pay short and sell long. We liked the wealth and power. We like to think we were lifting them out of the gutter as we trampled on their very souls. And if the uncivilised world disagreed – we shocked and awed them with the technology and manpower available in those days.
My country has had many many years of becoming familiar with a different concept. It does not work for ever. Bit by bit the “Empire” was eroded. Just as all worldly empires before and since.
Yet the mindset, the perception, the reputation lingers. Losing the “Masters of the Universe” title takes longer. And in doing so mistakes are made. Battles are fought out of desperation and misguided entitlement. We were once Great Britain. Then just Britain. Now we are the UK (and even that is subject to debate).
And yet ..,
None of that really matters to me. My soul has Eternity stamped and stamped again. My soul is connected to something beyond national borders. My motivation is fuelled by unconditional love. My words are sourced by the Source.
I find it odd that when God Soft Hand Jesus spoke, when The Word was written, when we make it a duty to read those words – that we miss so much of what this is all about.
(and I am resisting the pull of “killer verses”, slice and dice “He said”, pulling back from making a case based on “evidence” – what purpose does that serve other than provoke one more fight)
What I do know is that I belong to something greater, everlasting and just. My heart, soul and mind do not abhor this world in which we live. My love and passion and enjoyment are not dictated by reputation, title and position. I am in this world and love it to bits. It is His creation – what is not to love?
But strategic answers? Global solutions? Nationalistic quick fixes? Aren’t they only necessary to reinforce and maintain my perception of my worldly comfort zone?
We are less than two weeks away from celebrating a small seed budding.
I know He did not blossom for any one national boundary. I know He blossomed in a war of terror and occupation and opposing forces and ideologies. I know He is within me. I know I am connected to every atom and breathe of life. I wish to ooze and outflow.
I wish to be possessed.
Of a love so strong and unconditional it leaps borders and national pride – it mourns and grieves at injustice. Everywhere. No matter to whom. No matter how many.
Of a love so strong and unconditional it leaps perceived global status and morality – it celebrates and applauds the human spirit. Everywhere. No matter from whom. No matter if it is only one.
God Soft Hands Jesus has power. More than we can ever emulate. And yet …
He waits. He waits until we invite. Even if that takes for ever. Even if that never happens at all. He does not need us in the way we need the world, our own country, our own neighbourhood, our own church, our own family, our own hearts – He does not need to be proved right. He does not need to carry an abacus of converted souls.
He is always here. He always is. He always will. Please let us connect one at a time. Imperfectly. All flawed. Please let us look at each one as just one more loved creation. Imperfect. Flawed. And connected.
Just as He does.
So just as He cries … we cry – just as He loves … … … do we?