God’s Global Family
Scripture: Isaiah 2:2-4; Zechariah 8:20-23
God’s Global Family
How Americanized is your Christianity?
I once went with a group of Baylor University students to Taize, France. We participated in the life and worship of the Christian community there. People make pilgrimages from all over the globe (though especially from Europe) to come together for worship. The Taize community has written beautiful, contemplative songs in numerous languages. They also put each visitor in a bible study group. The groups are intentionally mixed with people of all nationalities and languages. I still remember sharing with my group my reflections on the day’s biblical passage. A woman in my group from another country replied, “that’s such an American way to see that.”
Ever since I have held more loosely my interpretations of biblical passages. I was reminded by my sister in Christ from halfway around the world, how much our context can color our understanding and application of our faith. America aspires to be a global leader preserving freedom and opportunity for all. I’m grateful for the continuing dream of America and all who labor and sacrifice in order to form “a more perfect union.” However, it is tempting for people of all nations to conflate the values and success of their country with the gifts and goodness of God’s Kingdom. I’ve yet to see any political party propose Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as their political platform.
Theologians and biblical scholars have wondered if we have outsourced the Kingdom of God to our political process. Christians of all political stripes seem much more content to argue bitterly over our political differences than unite around God’s Global Gospel Community. Yet prophets like Isaiah and Zechariah envisioned a day when God’s People would truly be an alternative community to the violence, greed, addiction, and anxiety so prevalent in the rest of the world. This Good God-Centered Global Family would be so attractive the nations would be magnetically drawn to participation. The nations would not be enamored with our cleverness, eloquence, or success at the world’s games. Instead, they would be drawn to instruction shaping and transforming lives holistically. People from all manner of political, cultural, regional, religious and ethnic backgrounds will seek out God.
It’s easy to feel guilty about what a stark contrast we find from these prophetic visions to our practical lives. Yet God invites us through these world shaping visions to dream afresh, and act anew. What’s one practical way you can connect more fully with God’s Global Family this week? For people to be drawn to God’s goodness emerging in our communities, we will have to have respectful relationships with the larger world. How might you expand your current social sphere through volunteering? Intentional conversations? Getting to know your neighbors?