Faithful Citizens In the Kingdom
By Fr. Daniel Pinell
If you watched the presidential debates this week, perhaps you are feeling a bit disillusioned and concerned with the state of politics in our country. Studies seem to indicate that we are becoming more politically polarized. This polarization is affecting the way we work and relate to others, especially in the church.
That our current political fractures are permeating the walls of the church may not be a surprise to many of us. We may see these fractures as the natural evolution of our national divisions. We may feel sad about it, and yet powerless to do much to change it. We may feel a certain inevitability to this whole scenario, and perhaps the best we can do is prepare for what’s to come.
But what does the Word of God say about this? How can the Word of God inform our current divisions? And more importantly, what directives can Christians receive from the Bible on this topic?
Jesus, praying for his disciples before His crucifixion, asks the Father for our unity:
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17: 21-21.
In this part of what is called Jesus’ priestly prayer, our Lord is not asking unity for just His disciples, but also for us, “for those who will believe in me through their word.” Jesus also lays out the consequences of our unity, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Our unity is of such importance that our witness will be severely damaged without it. Many people, beloved of God, humans for whom Christ died for, may not believe in Jesus because of our divisions! The consequences of our divisions are nothing short of eternal.
We can’t allow temporal things to affect things eternal. This is the very definition of idolatry. Unfortunately, many Christians are caught up in the cult of Caesar, the false Lord of this earth. Many of us are worshiping at the altar of our political parties, choosing to congregate with those affiliated red and blue instead of with those who are just consecrated to Christ.
We need to repent of this idolatry. We cannot allow these false gods to continue dividing the Body of Christ. Our witness and the hurting people of the world are on the line.