Friday, February 18, 2011

Whose Are You?

I've been thinking about citizenship recently as I muse on two passages from the book of Philippians. First the Apostle Paul's exhortation to this group of house churches in ancient European city of Philippi:

Only, live your civic or public life worthy of the gospel of Christ. (1:27; I added italics and elaboration)
And then Paul lays out the contrast between the life of the citizens of the "secular city" (to use Augustine's term) and that of followers of Jesus--particularly whose they are:
But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. (3:20-21, again, my italics)
I've been thinking about this because I'm working on a sermon for our presbytery (the regional gathering of our denomination). I'm asking the question: What do we need to hear in light of some contentious political battles in our denomination? It seems to me we need to hear about freedom. We need to hear about our citizenship about how to answer "Whose are we?" The answer: we're free for God and therefore free from being defined by human associations so that we can be free to re-engage in this world with love and service. When we know we ultimately belong to God then we can serve this world more effectively, worthy of the Gospel.

At least that's how I see it. What do you think?