Sunday, December 27, 2009

Three French Hens...

Okay, then, about those three French hens... "On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three citizenships..."

I've talked about this particular triad before - the idea shows up in my book "The Unmaking of a Part-time Christian" and quite possibly I've used it here in this blog. But I'm writing from the heart today - not cutting and pasting, so I believe you're cleared to continue even if you think you've already heard what I have to say!

My three-pronged gift is citizenship, and I hold three allegiances that help to define me: it's a great way to introduce exactly who I am in terms of belonging.
  1. First; in 1956 I was born into the human race. Before I acknowledged any state or any nationality, I was born into life on earth, and I am a citizen of the world. My long-overdue appearance as a breathing being occurred on March 26th, at 6:00 in the morning according to Greenwich Mean Time, in the town of Folkestone in the English county of Kent. I am, by the reckoning of this world, 53 years old.
  2. Another kind of birth was my decision to become an American. When I took my oath of citizenship (February 15, 1985) I made some huge commitments in terms of loyalty and allegiance. I am now 100% American. When I left the Federal courthouse in Pensacola that beautiful Spring day, I was no longer British. I was still a citizen of the world - and that responsibility has a deep hold on me that nothing can shake - but I became American by choice.
  3. My third citizenship is that of the Kingdom of God. When I made the decision to follow Jesus the process was a lot like becoming an American. Now pay attention carefully here... I'm not saying being an American is the same a being a Christian! What I'm saying is that becoming a Christ follower involves the same quality of commitment and "no-going-back" that comes with a new passport and the promise to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic". If I stand with my allegiances divided, wanting to inhabit both camps, then I have to be lying to somebody - most especially myself - and such a game simply will not work.
So these are my three gifts, my fill-in for the three French hens; I believe they are all gifts given to me by the Creator. The most important of these allegiances is my role as a disciple of Jesus. It's a difficult one to date, because I am very much a work in progress. What I do know is that this morning I decided to follow Jesus, around 6:30 and just before my first cup of coffee - it's like my wife Rebekah says when people ask her to date exactly when she made the decision to follow Christ: I've been choosing Jesus for years and I plan to do it again every day.

My citizenship in God's kingdom informs my role as a committed citizen of the World. My position as an heir of the kingdom also says a whole lot about how I go about engaging the responsibility I own to use the rare privilege of citizenship in these United States for the benefit of my brothers and sisters all over the globe.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
Three citizenships...
Andrew and Naomi...
And a Savior to set us all free....

  • I did everything the Law demands in order to please God. But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life - Philippians 3

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