a colony of heaven in a country of death

We need to pray for South Sudan.

We need to pray for Haiti.

We need to pray for Ethiopia.

We need to pray for Nicaragua.

We need to pray for the United States.

We need to pray for Ontario.

These are all statements I’ve made in the past few months, most recently for Ethiopia. Then today I read this quote from Eugene Peterson on Twitter: “The church is a colony of heaven in a country of death.”

Sure, we need to pray. And if you’ll pardon the cliche, now more than ever, we need to act. The church, in Jesus, knows that God himself is here — his kingdom come, his will be done. It seems these places in the world, and so many others, need to see the church demonstrate what it means that the kingdom of Heaven is here.

Prime Ministers, Premiers and Presidents are powerless demonstrate to the world the love of Jesus. If there is to be redemption, it’s through this thing called the church, a colony of heaven in a country of death.

Sure. Let’s pray. But for the love of God himself, we must act. What does action look like? I’m not sure of much these days, given the turmoil in the world and the extra level of selfishness that seems to be leading it. But Jesus’ example seems a good place to start:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:3–8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

All of this has made me think of something a friend shared. I was kidding him about his dual citizenship for the US and Canada, given the current presidential race in the US. He said, “Dwayne, I have tri-citizenship — Canada, the United States, and most importantly, Heaven”.

He had me. The world needs to see Jesus in me and in all of us who are citizens of Heaven.

Jesus is more concerned about the well being of everyone else than his own.

Jesus does selfless stuff.