Pastor’s Word

I’m so encouraged to “feel” the increased level of spiritual dialogue taking place among us. People are processing what their prayer life looks like and what it should be like. Others are more actively thinking about God’s Will for their lives. The new series in Mark is prompting some to consider anew what it takes to follow Jesus, to be His disciple. All this bodes well for our spiritual future.

Now that I have celebrated a bit, I want to “ponder” some about Hope’s recognition of Veterans Day on Sunday. As we usually do, we will take a moment to recognize those who have served in the military of the nation that God has chosen to place Hope Chapel and all of us in. It will not be an over-the-top, main focus of the service type thing, but will still be meaningful. Why the “balanced” approach?

There are those who would say the church should not participate in any way, shape or form. Their argument is that even though those who serve in the military usually do so with honor, the whole notion of the Church “worshipping” or “idolizing” a human institution that’s main mission is to sustain extreme competency in taking human life seems just wrong. It also takes away precious worship time that should be dedicated to focusing on God. But I don’t see it that way. We are a spiritual family at Hope. We have members of that family who accepted the request of their nation to serve. And many of those who did still pay a price either physically or psychologically as a result of their service. Case in point, recent research shows that the 2/3 of the veterans who commit suicide are over 50 years of age. Given that, as a family, it is right and fitting for us to show our gratitude and compassion for them and to them. It is even more fitting for us to pray for them. Therefore, we do. Therefore, I do.

But our recognition intentionally seeks not to be “over the top”. Why? We in no way want to equate our faith with nationalism. First and foremost, as Christians we are citizens of an eternal kingdom. That affiliation supersedes any earthly affiliation (think we must obey God rather than men). Further, in many ways we share a stronger bond with Christ-followers from nations our leaders have deemed enemies than we do many with the folks who live right down the street from us but are far from God. Our faith also informs us that Christ loves our enemies just like He loves us. He died for our “enemies” just like He did for us. We accept that we have a divine mandate to love them and to serve them toward a faith in the Redeemer. Therefore, we deliberately seek to stop short of celebrating America as “God’s Country” and view it as the mission base from which He has asked us, Hope Chapel, to reach the world. It is in this way that we sustain our position to speak truth to our culture without being swallowed by it.

A recap. God has place Hope Chapel in America. Therefore, we have “family members” who have served that country and we thank and pray for them. We seek, as the Bible commands, to be good citizens. But we do so keeping a firm grasp on our Divine Commission to serve all of God’s nations.

With all that said. I look forward to honoring and praying for our brothers and sisters among us who served our country in the military this Sunday. I am grateful for both their service and their faith.

See you Sunday if not Saturday at what should be a great day for marriages.

Blessings,