‘Tis of Thee

Unless you were born here, you must pass a citizenship test to become a citizen of the United States of America. You become naturalized by memorizing rules, regulations, and history. However you become a more natural American when you realize a hot dog can be both something you eat, or a show off on the ball field. It’s knowing the idiosyncratic nuances of the language, customs and cultural norms that help immigrants feel at home in their adopted country, and unfortunately it is ignorance of the customs and cultures they bring with them that lead to prejudicial persecution.

As heirs in Christ we are ambassadors to the world around us. In it, not of it. Citizens of Heaven if you will, but unless we know the language, the customs, and culture of heaven we will feel out of place in both worlds. The goal is not to try and force this world to match our expectations, but to live such heavenly lives that Christ’s proclamation, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” become a tangible reality for the folks we live with, work with, relax with, or come to meet as if by chance.

We don’t have to pass a test on chapter and verse to earn this new status. We are born-again into relationship with The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit by faith. We trust that He will never leave us, or forsake us, or to bring it a little closer to home, deport us, or ban us entry into His Grace. Love God, love your neighbor. Done deal. If love were our natural composition we wouldn’t need a commandment, or supernatural power to sustain it, but we do and we do.

We go and do likewise. We feed the hungry, we visit the sick and imprisoned, we give shelter, comfort, clothing, and fellowship. We are Good Samaritans before we are Good Americans, and we look to the day when they both mean the same thing.

Will Schmit

Will Schmit is a volunteer outreach prison minister for Lifehouse Church in Arcata Ca. He is the author of Jesus Inside A Prison Minister's Memoir and Training Manual available at www.schmitbooks.com. The website also includes poetry, ministry updates, and free music downloads for subscribers.

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2 comments

    1. Beautiful truth. You fumbled a bit when you came to the application. Following the “way” of Christ is not about social justice, at least it doesn’t begin there. That is too myopic. It is beginning with the deep understanding of what it means to fully “surrender” to “Him”…and not YOURS or MY version of Him. When I surrender and begin following His primary directive… “abide in me” (John 15)…then we begin to see His power manifested in the Spirit He has given to us…doing the “work” of the gospel.
      When you lead with the “to do”, we feed into our ego and American “hot doggin'” to “measure” my effectiveness. The work is God’s. Our lives and bodies are the conduit for His work. We each have a role to play in the body (1 Cor. and Romans 12) then we don’t feel pressured to do more, we begin to actually love His presence more than His presents and we make a difference. The “work” becomes “God’s work” through us…and that is when powerful things happen and movements begin. Until then, we’re tilting at windmills.
      …just thinking out loud.

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