It is not, by far, unique to American Christianity to be tied to a country. God fought for England, Scotland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, and plenty of other places supposedly, as leaders quickly pulled God in their plans of military conquest (or defense). God, and in particular the brand (i.e., Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, etc.), was used to support the war (often against other Christians, sadly).
If historians and church critics were honest and while the church often was part of it, most of it was really about politics, power, jealousy, and wealth (maybe some honor). The Israelites were set apart as a nation of God-followers. They were unique as being the nation of God and the People of God. No human could take that away from them. It remained part of their self-identity even as they wandered from God.
Isaiah’s call was transformed from that of an Israelite to the Israelites, to that of an Israelite to the world. That this was in the midst of relocation, the threat of deportation, and the reality of being dominated makes it especially powerful. When one is assaulted, one tends to turn inward. If one turns outward, it is usually on the attack. Isaiah reached outward (in a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ) to restore, reconcile, and call the world to God.
Thus, Peter’s words are really nothing more than the conclusion to the stage that was set with Isaiah all the way back to Abraham. God is for the world to be reconciled to God!
The message of Christ—the message of God—seems to have been lost by the church, who is called to be the messenger, ambassador, and bride of God.
Many of us have not learned the basics of our faith. Many of us have not learned how to speak well of our faith. Many of us have not learned how to be brave in the face of those who do not believe.
We are called to reflect and respond. What God has called us to do, we should be doing, even though we may be very bad at it. While God will praise the results, God cherishes the hearts the pursues the aim of God…reconciliation of the world to the one who created it.
What are your thoughts about how you will be responding and learning to respond to God’s call on your life?
Jesus, we are called by your title—Christ. Help us to be called by your mission, that we bring the world to your embrace. Amen.