It has been awhile since I read a most provocative and paradigm impacting book for me by Os Guinness, entitled The Case for Civility. While the book touches on what we would think of when we see the title, it looks at the subject in a much larger way. Civility in terms of society and people’s role and engagement in it. And especially in terms of the uniqueness of America and the first amendment which guarantees freedom of worship and speech. And here in America we are even granted freedom not to serve in the military, as a “conscientious objector.”
I am thankful to God for America. America has plenty of faults, true from the start, some of them grave. It is limited; I don’t believe it ever was a Christian nation as toward any theocracy, though along with Enlightenment principles, it was built on an understanding of the Judeo-Christian faith. It is not the kingdom of God, nor ever could be. Only the church, the community in Jesus are the people of God who live in and through the kingdom of God come in Jesus.
But just the same, America is blessed. I think of great people like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. There are so many more, and we can find them through history right up to the present day. And each of them with their flaws. And the sacrifices of so many men and women who gave their lives in accordance with fulfilling their perceived duty and convictions.
There were surely no Anabaptist believers along with others, in the early years escaping persecution for not lining up with the state churches in Europe, who did not from the heart give thanks for this nation and their new found freedom to worship and serve God according to their conscience.
So I really thank God for America. God has seen fit to use it significantly and in spite of itself in his ongoing work in the world. And to judge it along the way.
Of course America is not indispensable. But may all from it that is good for the time and present age continue on until Jesus returns and brings in the true shalom through God’s kingdom in him for which we long and wait. And may we in Jesus be found faithful to God’s calling for us in him as citizens of heaven with the good news of Jesus for the world.