It may seem strange, but all of this hoopla surrounding Chick-fil-a, and the reaction of many within the church makes me think about the topic of “glory.” As I see Christians “take up arms,” lifting their voices in anger and protest; it makes me think that perhaps we have become confused as to our call to glorify God. It seems that the so called American Christian Patriot has the mistaken idea that somehow glorifying God means standing up for your rights and showing the government that, “We are the glorious church and we’re not going to take your abuse anymore!” I believe many of us have forgotten that the ultimate symbol of glory is the cross.
This morning I am reminded of the time that Jesus told Peter and the rest of the disciples that he must go to Jerusalem where he would be handed over to the Gentiles and be put to death. Peter said, “No Lord. This will never happen to you!” Jesus’ response was, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Peter, at that point, still didn’t understand that Jesus had come to glorify the Father and be glorified himself through his suffering on the cross. It would seem that the American Christian Patriot, like Peter in that instance, cannot grasp the fact that it was in the act of submission and suffering that our Lord demonstrated the glory of God.
I recall the story in the book of Acts when some of the Apostles were taken into custody, beaten and told not to preach Jesus anymore. The church’s response was to gather together and pray. When the men were released from jail, they didn’t march around protesting unfair treatment, hire a few lawyers, and demand that they be given the right to preach what they wanted to. No, they thanked God for the privilege to suffer on account of the name of Jesus, asking God to move and give them boldness to preach no matter what. They understood that it was through their suffering that God’s grace was poured out and his name glorified. Peter, who was one of the Apostles in the story, went on to write, “But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” Poor misguided Peter, I guess he was simply confused.
Perhaps the American Christian Patriot has forgotten that in the book of Hebrews some of the champions of faith are described as those who “were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” What fools they were. Didn’t they know that they should have stood up for their rights?
American Christian, please consider the possibility that perhaps we have confused patriotism with Christianity. Could it be that we have mistakenly equated the glory of God with the “American Dream”? Have we forgotten that we are called to be slaves (yes SLAVES) of Jesus Christ, and that our only “right” is to glorify our Master? I understand that we Americans have been told all of our lives that we must stand up for ourselves and fight for our rights, but Christian, please hear me; does that mindset honestly exemplify the nature of Christ? I believe with all of my heart that the American Christian needs to be wary of this blending of faith and political power. Brothers & sisters, we are not called to be patriots, instead we Christians have been called OUT OF every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue in order that we might glorify the name of him who transferred us out the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved son.