We often hear politicians and others say, “God bless America”, as if somehow America deserves God’s blessings more than any other place else on earth (or the universe).
Since returning to the United States from England I have been inundated with political ads and Facebook posts imploring us to return to the Christian values that America was founded upon. My favorite post is one that shows Jesus superimposed over the Stars and Stripes. I’m pretty sure Jesus never owned an American flag (or anything else for that matter). There’s another one that shows the White House with the caption, “Remember when God lived here?” Really???
Why do some people want to make God so small? Why reduce God to someone who only has concern for us? Our country? Our party? Our faith tradition? God doesn’t love Americans or America any more than he loves anyone or anywhere else. He doesn’t love Christians more than Jews or Muslims. If we REALLY believe in God and believe what Jesus taught us, then we should be asking God to bless our enemies (which He already does, but it would be nice to ask).
Jesus preached love. He preached unity and inclusiveness. He preached wholeness to the brokenhearted and freedom to those that have been enslaved. Shouldn’t those of us who call ourselves Christians do the same? Aren’t we supposed to love our enemies?
Maybe we should ask God to bless Afghanistan or Iran or Libya. Maybe we should ask God to forgive our hatred and prejudice. God did not create me to hate me. Why would I expect any less for the rest of God’s creation?
We are free to believe what we want. To worship where and how we choose. To build walls or bridges. But we have no right to claim God for ourselves. We can try to put God in a box or a building or a temple or a tabernacle but that only proves our human limitation. And God can’t be minimized no matter how we might wish to. Recently my four year-old granddaughter said it best, “Daddy, church isn’t really God’s house.” “He lives inside us!”
Well said Anna. He lives inside us, no matter where that might be…