I saw a video of a man being interviewed by a reporter concerning the migrant caravan. The man said that they should be shot at, and that will scare them and they would go back where they came from. The reporter responded by saying that many of the people in the caravan are escaping horrendous political circumstances and are fleeing for their lives. The man repeated what he thought should be done.
That’s right, his perceived safety, privilege, and comfort was more important than people fleeing for their lives – literally. Their humanity was subject to his desires.
If this man claims to be a Christian, then he has stopped seeing Jesus in others.
The President issued a statement that he believes he can overrule a constitutional provision by issuing an executive order eliminating natural birthright citizenship. If that is allowed to stand, then what we are saying is that one man gets to determine what the law is from now on. That isn’t democracy. That’s tyranny. That’s not rule of law – it’s the rule of a king or emperor. If the President gets to decide who is a citizen and who isn’t, does he get to decide who is a human or not? His rhetoric pertaining to Muslims, immigrants, women, the media, and everyone who doesn’t fawn over him as if he were a god has shown itself to be dehumanizing and devaluing at best.
In NY harbor stands the Statue of Liberty with a torch of freedom. The flame burns on. At the base of the statue is a poem that reads:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Given the recent comments by the President and his supporters about the caravan (“They are invaders”), those that support this empty, immoral ideology, like the man in the first paragraph who suggest we shoot at refugees, it has become clear that there are plenty in this country that have traded the Statue of Liberty, and all it stands for, in for an angry and fearful old white guy raising his middle finger to the rest of the world.
We have traded in the de facto motto of the US, E Pluribus Unum, (meaning: out of many, one), for another motto – Hostis. Hostis is latin for an enemy of the state, stranger. There are many who shout this motto loudly because they live in fear and hatred. Hostis is the de facto motto of nationalism in all its forms. Nationalism is a sin. It is evil. It leads to death and destruction. It is the antithesis of Christ. Nationalism, much like Legion, the name of the set of demons Jesus cast out of the man in Luke 8, manifests itself in many forms – racism, Anti-Semitism, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, greed, corruption, lying, manipulation, power, dehumanizing, devaluing, scapegoating, blaming, vile language, hatred, fear, anxiety, and more. These are the tools in Nationalism’s belt. It’s goal is to build up the privileged by tearing down and eliminating all others. It is a theology and ideology of empire. And it is wrong. And it will fail. And unfortunately, it will take down many with it.
A week or so ago the President defined globalist and nationalist. His definition of globalist was – “A person who wants the globe to do well. Frankly, not caring about our country so much. And you know what, we can’t have that.”
Nationalism is a rejection of God. It is a rejection of Christianity. All we need is one verse to show that nationalism is not compatible with Christianity. You may recognize it. John 3:16 states “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” The world. The whole world. Or to use the language of the President, a follower of God is a person who wants the globe to do well because God loves the whole world. Frankly not caring about our country more than other ones. I’ll gladly stand with God on this and take the label globalist.
We have traded Christianity, all it teaches, and how Christ calls on us to live, in for the gods of power, money, guns, violence, war, fear, anger, wrath, and narcissism.
We have attempted to silence God from saying anything political because we know deep down that we won’t like what God has to say.
We have traded in John 3:16 in for a different verse – That the idols we create so love us that no one else matters. It is the creed of ultimate selfishness. It is narcissistic to it’s core.
We, like Adam and Eve, now believe that we are smarter than God. And we will pay the price of our giving the finger to God. Not with anything God will do to us. God doesn’t need to be wrathful with us. Instead, God will allow us to go our own way and suffer the consequences of our decisions. God doesn’t withhold grace, but continues to offer it. It is us who reject God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s peace, God’s forgiveness, God’s love. We have traded in God’s grace for karma.
Woe to us, O America. Woe to us.
And yet the Statue of Liberty still stands. A beacon of freedom, in spite of hardened hearts of her people. It stands as an ideal – something we are far from right now. But it will remain standing. And we will once again move towards it at some point in spite of our people.
Our motto remains. An ideal that is under assault, but still visible and embraced by many in spite of those blinded by fear and anger. It is a motto that we will strive for again at some point.
And finally, God’s kingdom is still unfolding. We are still invited to participate in this unfolding in spite of sinful mortals who temporarily spew their venom around. We wait patiently for God. We pray. And we respond to God’s grace and invitation by living out the Christian life. We will follow Matthew 25:35-40
…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
God’s kingdom will prevail. No earthly kingdom will last. No earthly power can stay in power permanently. Only God is eternal. Only God. No mortal can outlast God and God’s will.
While this world attempts to build a Nationalist nation, God offers a contrasting vision. We hear it in Revelation 21:1-7.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.’
God’s kingdom is a glorious kingdom. In it we not only encounter God, we live with God. We see God all around us. We are embraced by God and God’s love. There is no room for death and it’s associates. We see God in all those around us. We encounter God in them.
God’s vision is a vision of resurrection – that after death God brings new life, thriving life, far better than we ever imagined. Far better than anything this world or any person can offer. Far better, far bigger than Nationalism and anything it can possibly offer. God isn’t a nationalist. God is a globalist and his global vision lifts people up, and does the impossible – defeats death. No ideology can ever offer that.