God’s Global Assignment

The UN building
Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_United_Nations_Building.jpg">Wikipedia</a>

Isaiah 49:6

God says, “Promoting Jacob’s tribes and restoring Israel isn’t your only job if you’re going to serve me. If you’re going to do my work, you’ll have to be a beacon for everyone, not a nationalist, an internationalist.”

If what Isaiah says is true, religion (at least Jewish and Christian religion) should never be reduced to parochialism.

If what Isaiah says is true, there is no such thing as a national religion.

If what Isaiah says is true, then you can only say, “God bless the USA,” or “God save the Queen” (or whatever your national slogan is), if you add, “and God bless everyone else.”

God bless the Iraqis, the Russians, the Chinese, the Afghans, the Somalis, the Rwandans, the Uzbeks, the French, the Inuits, the Guarani, the …. You get the picture.

If what you’re doing “for God” leaves out the interests of any of the people on God’s green earth, no matter how small, you’re not really working for God.

Look for God Beyond the Borders

woman standing on a cliff in the wind
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/squeakywheel/2255524253/">squacco</a>

Acts 1:6-8

When his disciples reassembled, they asked Jesus, “Master, are you going to restore Israel’s independence now?”

“First, God only knows when that will happen, and you’re not in on that decision,” Jesus said. “But when you get God’s spirit you’ll have the power to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and everywhere.”

Even after the resurrection, the disciples haven’t figured out that this whole Jesus thing isn’t about Israeli independence. Jesus’ response, “Only God knows… and you’re not in on that” is as much as to say, “forget about it.”

Instead Jesus tells them when they do realize where God’s spirit is taking this, it will lead them from where they are (just outside Jerusalem), beyond their own national borders (Judea) into a worldwide phenomenon (everywhere).

Against our tendency to reduce God’s activity to our own private bubble of concerns and issues, Jesus was always pushing us – and is still pushing – to realize that it’s not about us. At least, not just about us. If the spirit of God is really upon us, our circle of concern (and involvement) will always be widening.

[Bonus: This passage, if you’re looking for one, is the reason why Christian nationalism (doesn’t matter what nation) is bunk.]