Sometimes the only way we learn is when we are confronted with facts we cannot change and that elicit an assertive response.
As a world, we are facing problems that are global in nature and that we cannot solve alone. While we must always love our country, in order to preserve ourselves we must learn to work with others.
The very idea of a nation evolved over time. When people on the Iberian Peninsula realized that they could not be fighting each other but must unify for survival, Castile, Catalonia, Leon and other small entities rallied together to form “Spain”. This happened because it had to happen for the survival of the smaller groups.
Here in the New World, 13 colonies decided that they had to band together to form a ‘United States’ to survive against the British Empire.
We are at another historical juncture at which God is telling us something that we need to hear for our own survival.
The idea of the State or the Country, as useful as it was in the past, is no longer equal to the terrifying task that faces us as a global community. This can be seen in three mega problems that face us all today: the pandemic (and those waiting in our future which may be worse than this one), the deterioration of the climate environment that we have taken for granted, and the nuclear threat of annihilation that is augmented by the possibility of use by terrorist agents in the future.
These three problems can only be faced by a world working together. They are bigger than any one country, even the United States. We see the scary premonitions of this on the daily news broadcasts: Viruses with no known vaccines running rampant in the world, developing as we argue into more potent and dangerous strands; natural disasters upending whole populations; the spread of the desert regions, deforestation of needed plant life, fires due to droughts, not enough water in places of great population, more devastating tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, rising sea levels; and more radical and theologically-motivated ideologies (I include atheism) with their fingers on ever more destructive buttons of annihilation: nuclear, biological and chemical.
Never before has God so clearly called upon us to put aside the weapons and the mistrust and to work together for the survival of everyone. Every step backward in this call to unity can only have devastating results for many innocent people.
One may say, as one surveys the vast implications of this call to unity and commitment to change, that this is impossible. We will never be successful. We are doomed.
Unfortunately, I would agree unless we convert our hearts to God and work the Gospel in the world. Only the Gospel has the tools that could turn this around: Love of enemies, effective changes called for, the need to embrace the Cross, redemptive suffering. The Gospel, lived out by the world, can save this earth. I know this is not politically correct to say, but no other faith on earth has the necessary belief structure and the grace-filled energy to bring the world together. I know that this may seem even more impossible than saving the world through unity. But embedded in all the faiths of the world are pieces of the Gospel, even in the secularism that comes from the West and is really a Christian Secularism. In the rank commercialism of the Western Ethos (think how elements of Christmas joy have ‘leaked out’ of our sacred celebration) are found elements of the Gospel that are unrecognized but can be effective supports for the Great Alliance that is necessary.
Christianity grew in a polyglot and multicultural milieu during the stable years of the Roman Empire. This is much like it is today in a lot of the world, with the rest of the world more or less aspiring to our benefits. Western (European and American) ideas now permeate the world and are calling for that unity which can be had at least for solving our many common problems. Those of the Christian Faith, firmly based on the Judaic revelation, can lead the world with differing levels of conscious acceptance. It is not necessary that all be converted to Christianity, but that Christians call on people of all faiths and no faith to band together to do what is necessary not only to survive but to thrive as a world in the future.
We need to have faith in the Gospel which is for all the world and not just for Christians. We must be ready and willing to show forth the virtues of Gospel living that may inspire the world to put down weapons and to have enough faith in each other that we may have a good shot at saving the world. Don’t forget, Jesus said He will be with us till the end of the world. Let’s stand with Him and become Christ to the world.