Wake Up My Brothers. Wake Up My Sisters.

I know many of you are having trouble adjusting to what America has become. I see it in your Facebook posts, hear it in your letters to the editors, and in the passing snide comments you make when we have conversations about America. The disillusionment is palpable. I understand your frustration and cynicism.

As a whole, we, Americans, are generally good people and very charitable. Individually, we are the most generous people in the world.  We have had our shining moments in history and done many great things for those in our nation and the world around us.

But let's be honest, collectively, we also have a dark side. A side we get ticked off about when it is taught in history classes. A side that we try to ignore like Dr. Jekyll tried to hide his Mr. Hyde. We are flawed. We have committed great evils. We aren't God's nation, and we aren't always on God's side. The hard to acknowledge truth is that we have never completely been on God's side. We have good moments. We have evil moments.

Even before our founding, there were Christians who had to flee Massachusetts and establish Rhode Island because they spoke out against our treatment of the Indians. Throughout our history, people who have stood up for the rights of others have been persecuted like Roger Williams was by the Massachusetts authorities. This theme reoccurs time and time again throughout our history. Let's be honest and admit that this is definitely not a sign of a people following Jesus.

We're just another nation filled with people made in the image of God who fail to live up to our design. Flawed at times. Beautiful at times. Some of us are followers of Jesus. Many of us are not. Our ideals are generally good. We value the equality of all, democracy, liberty, and the ability to become whatever you have the skills and desire to become. But the devil isn't in our ideals, it's in the working out of those ideals. Those ideals seem to rarely manifest themselves.

This makes our situation all the more confusing. When we look at the flag, we envision those ideals. When we pledge allegiance, we commit to those ideals. We go to a memorial and are reminded of those great principles. All this while our nation is actually far from them. We like to imagine our place as the most exceptional nation this world has ever seen.

The parade beckons. The march begins. The trumpets sound. The alluring siren call pulls us in. America can do no wrong. We must follow our nation no matter what it asks me to do or how much it will cost. We must be brave. We must be free.

These ideals stir our spirit. In them, we find our identity. They build us up and spur us on toward greater things. We want that ideal America. And the puppeteers who would manipulate us know this. They pull the strings that move us. We find ourselves being used as puppets of the State in a performance we have no desire to be in rather than as servants of the Most High God who love our enemies, our neighbors, and everyone around us.

We must wake up from our misrepresented American dream and live the life that God has destined us to live. The Church has been asleep too long.  

We were once under a spell that hypnotized us into believing in the illusion that we were a Christian nation. I know that it should have been obvious to us that we weren't, but it wasn't. We are easily tricked because of our desire to believe. Our treatment of the Indians, our history of slavery, our struggle for equal and civil rights, our oppression of poor, less empowered, and disenfranchised people around the world, and all the other signs throughout our history that reveal something other than God is controlling our nation. Oh, how we wish it wasn't so, but lying to ourselves, pretending that our reality is not what it is, and refusing to leave our twilight state does us no good.

We want to be deceived. We long to believe in the illusion we have of America rather than the actuality of what our nation is. The magic disappears when we see that there is no wizard, just a person behind the curtain.

The truth that we fail to live up to our ideals is not popular. We want to believe that we're the new Israel, God's special nation, a city on a hill, and the light of the world. But that role has already been taken, and it was not given to America by God. Instead, that role was placed upon the Church. A Church that must stand up for the truths of God, like Pastor Roger Williams did in standing up for the Indians. We must stand up for His truth and His people whether or not those truths are popular with our nation or those who are our neighbors.

Fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus, we live in an amazing time. The alarm clock was set and is now sounding. We can wake up from our slumber and begin to live victoriously in the life and calling that Jesus has for us. Or we can hit snooze. We can love our enemies, whether or not they threaten our nation. Or we can just love our friends and family. We can love our neighbors, whether or not they share our political affiliation. Or we can just love those like us. We can love our brothers and sisters, whether or not they have a different earthly government. Our we can establish a special place for people born on the same soil as us. Jesus is saying, "Follow Me. Even if your nation won't follow. Follow Me into a better world."