Neither Jesus nor Paul taught blind patriotism or a simple accommodation of the state’s or country’s actions. For both, the Kingdom of God is where our hearts reside and “our citizenship is in heaven.”
An image I recently saw on Facebook depicted Jesus preaching to the crowds, with the phrase boldly proclaiming: “Being ‘woke’ is literally what Jesus preached about his entire life.” Is that accurate? “Woke” wasn’t in use the way it is today when Jesus preached, but would the core of his message qualify as being “woke” as we understand it today?
From the Psalms, from the prophets, from non-canonical sources, and from Jesus we learn what God values most. What matters is justice, mercy, and faith. What counts is the steadfast love of God and actively doing something to help those in need. That is true religion.
It is one of my life’s ambitions to become like the woman who brought me and my wife a cup of cold water on a hot day in Providence, Rhode Island. I would cherish the opportunity to quench another’s thirst…either their physical need for a drink of water, their need to be drawn closer to the Divine, or their thirst for justice and righteousness.
When I visited Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln’s summer home, I learned that Robert, as president of the Pullman Company, exploited the people whom his father freed. Yet black Pullman porters rose up to extend civil rights and social justice. Pullman porter E.D. Nixon paid Rosa Parks’ bail in Montgomery, Alabama, and asked a young Martin Luther King, Jr. to lead a bus boycott there. And Pullman porter A. Philip Randolph called for the 1963 March on Washington which culminated in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.