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SEEK 7 – Being Patriotic

SEEK 7 – Being Patriotic

Question:  How did you become Scottish?  How do you say hallo in Scottish?  Can you say, ‘they make take our lives, but they will never take our freedom?”!   Why was I born as a Peruvian and no in another better country like America?

Bible Reading: Acts 17:16-34

Text: “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands”

I now live in Sydney, Australia, but like half the population of Australia I am not an Australian because I was not born here.  Sometimes people do ask me your question.   They want to hear my Scottish accent – and they want to hear me sound like Mel Gibson, an Australian playing a Scot, in Braveheart!  I could become an Australian citizen, but would that make me an Australian?   Is nationality to do with where you live?  Where were you born?  What you feel?

I’m very proud to be Scottish.  I love my native land.  Although to tell you a wee secret, I was actually born in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, which is technically across the border in England.  I suppose I could have decided that I was English – but then I would have had to support the English football team!    We don’t get to choose our nationality because of the countries we like – they are the countries we are born into – or at least the people we were born into.  For example, the English pop singer Cliff Richard was born in India, but he is still very much English.

So, our nationality is tied in with our birth, our parents, where we live and the culture(s) that has shaped us.   You are Peruvian, but I am not.  But I can tell you that it is a mistake to think that America is a better country than Peru.  I have Peruvian friends – and know people who have lived and worked in Peru who think that it is a wonderful country.  My church, the Free Church of Scotland, even started a mission work in Peru including a school, Collegio San Andreas (St Andrews school), which is still going strong.    You have Machu Picchu and Cusco.  Lima and the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.  Llamas and alpacas.  The Andes and the Amazon.   And you have wonderful food, aji amarillo, quinoa, chifa and Peruvian roast chicken.  You have music, art, textiles, and literature.  And there are lots of Peruvian Christians.

It is always a mistake to think that everywhere else in the world is better than where we are.  The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.   When I came to Australia some thought I came because to many British people it sounds like paradise – it is a rich country, with lots of beaches and even more sunshine.  But since we have been here there has been drought, bushfires, plague and now floods!     The point is that every country has good points and bad points.

It’s not just that every country is part of God’s good creation, or that it is inhabited by those who are made in the image of God – even though we are fallen sinners.  It is also, as Paul told the Athenians, that God has made all the nations and set the boundaries of their lands.   We all have our times, places and seasons.  This does not mean that God set up Peru, America, Scotland or Australia.  To claim that would be wrong.  Sometimes I hear people speak of their country as though it were the promised land – that is a sinful nationalistic pride which at best is delusional, at worst dangerous.     But it does mean that you and I should not waste time wishing we were in another place or at another time.  We have to recognise that God is sovereign, and we should be thankful for where we are and what we have been called to do.

This does not mean that we can never move to another country, or see our circumstances change – but it does mean that we should be asking – not ‘why did you not make me an American, (or if you have a greater ambition – Scottish!) – but rather – what can I do to live for your glory in the place and time you have called me to?

Most of all we want to see Christ glorified throughout the whole world, including our countries.   In ASK 31 we looked at North Korea and the difficulties in living there.  We should pray and hope for every country in the world.

Consider:  What do you like about your country – or where you now live?  What are the bad things?   Can you do anything to improve them?  How can you best serve God in your country?

Further Reading:

The Land of the Book – Scottish Christianity in a Year of Quotes – Christian Heritage

John Knox – The Sharpened Sword – Catherine Mackenzie.

At the Roots of a Nation: The Story of Colegio San Andrés, a Christian School in Lima, Peru – John Macpherson

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, we praise your name that you have marked out our appointed times and set the boundaries of the nations.  We thank you for the great variety of cultures and countries.  Grant that, wherever we live, we may seek you, love you and serve you – to the glory of your name and the good of all the peoples.  For you are the King of kings.  Amen.

SEEK 6 – Black Lives Matter













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