The light of joy and strange light of Christ is a light whose source lies always and everywhere in another country. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a countryCharles Marsh; Strange Glory, A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
I’m a man without a country.
Watching the political turmoil of the last few years I’ve increasingly felt as though I have no real political home. And the more I feel that way, the more I’m okay with it.
During the last provincial election cycle here in Ontario our choices were between an incumbent government that had spent huge amounts of money on an ill-conceived plan to move the province toward renewable energy, an opposition party with a loud and flamboyant leader who promised to roll back the most progressive sex education program in North America and said he would “respect the tax-payers” but never really explained what that meant, and a third party that promised free prescription drugs but confessed that would mean even higher taxes and still more debt.
There were other minor issues too but those all tended to get lost in the fray. What it came down to for me, and many other voters, was a choice between more debt and higher taxes versus, a regressive set of social policies that fly in the face of history. Most people chose to vote against debt and taxes without considering what that might mean for the many social programs we have come to rely on. Today we have a government that is hellbent on lowering taxes with little to no regard for what that money is actually needed for.
We can’t roll back the clock. Gays get married, climate change is real and we’re deep in debt, all facts. But it seems to me that no one in politics can successfully navigate these changing times without resorting to fear and division or spending all our money in the process.
Luckily, I don’t have to feel like I’m stuck here. My citizenship lies in another country. A country that doesn’t technically exist but one that we can easily see and promote if we know where to look.
The Apostle Paul likened the life of a Christ follower as that of an ambassador, (2 Corinthians 5:20). Ambassadors are not citizens of the country in which they live. They are representatives of somewhere else. Somewhere with different values, different interests and different ways of expressing themselves. Ambassadors are representatives of a different kind of society and a different culture. But because the Christian country that I represent doesn’t exist, I am still a man without a country.
The country I represent, and the country I seek is a country defined by love. It’s a country where the sad are comforted, the poor receive dignity, the sick receive healing and people willingly reduce their own comfort and security to make it all happen (Micah 6:8, Matthew 5). But that county doesn’t exist and no one, politicians and citizens alike seem willing to make the hard choices that will bring it into being.
So I’m a man without a country, and an ambassador of non-existent kingdom.