"you who call yourselves citizens"
As I think I mentioned some time back, my family went on vacation a few years ago, and included Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, on our itinerary. Because of that, I get emails from Monticello a few times a week, telling me about different events going on. I miss living on the East Coast, so it's fun for me to get a glimpse.
Well today when I opened that email, I saw pictures of the naturalization ceremony that took place at Monticello yesterday. Seventy-nine brand-new American citizens. And that was just the ceremony that took place at Monticello. I watched one on C-Span yesterday, too; that one took place in Washington, DC. And I'm sure there were dozens of other ceremonies taking place across the country.
|photo credit: baltimoresun.com|
|photo credit: ocregister.com|
|photo credit: poughkeepsiejournal.com|
It brings a tear to one's eye to watch someone, even a stranger, go through that. Maybe it's because, essentially, we are a nation of immigrants. I don't know everyone's story, but I know they all succeeded in something they decided to do. And that's got me thinking. You see, I'm an American ~ born here, ya know ~ but the Bible says I'm a citizen of heaven. Philippians 3:20 ~ "Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ". There's an important realization there for me to have. I live in America, and I'm glad of that, but it shouldn't be my most valuable identification.
Musician Dave Matthew performed at the Monticello ceremony and said in a speech, "You are the newest citizens. Our history belongs to you as much as to anyone. You chose this country, you left your home, your people, maybe happily, but maybe with a broken heart, maybe both... And today this country acknowledges that you are American now, as much as anyone."
I love that truth. I remember reading, years ago, "You can move to Greece, but you will never be Greek. But you can become an American." This is the same truth we know as children of God. When we make the decision to worship Him as Lord, we are "no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God's people, and also members of His household." (Ephesians 2:19)
And just like those brand-new American citizens, those of us who choose God have done so for different reasons. Some, because we wanted something better. Others would have stayed forever in their old life, but conditions forced them to seek something better. CS Lewis said, "I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most profitable explanation is that I was made for another world."
And so are we all.
If you are still only a citizen of the world, then it's Election Day for you. A choice must be made. It's not about where you live; sometimes we can't help that. It's about where your allegiance lies. It's about priorities.
And your decision will not change anything. Your life, your circumstances, your troubles will all be the same.
But you should also know, your decision will change everything.
~ "Get out of your country,
From your family...
to a land that I will show you...
I will bless you" ~