I am watching the “John Adams” HBO miniseries based on David McCullough’s book of the same name, and I am really enjoying it. I’m intrigued by the personal relationships and “bartering” between John Adams and representatives from the other colonies, in order for John to convince them to get on board with the Revolution. I am impressed and encouraged by the relationship between John and his wife Abigail. They were truly a couple who discussed ideas, built one another up, and held onto each other in hard times. John often sought the advice of Abigail through letters, truly seeing her as an equal. I am swept up in the moment, whether it is wondering if a child will live through a disease breakout, or watching anxiously as John gets the votes he needs to move on to the next step of the Revolution. I cheer every time we get one step closer to the founding of America.
And yet I am torn, because I know that soon I will be cheering for people shooting and killing one another. I am torn, because in a very real way, violence was integral to the founding of our country. The colonies fought the Revolutionary War from 1775-1783, and we’ve been fighting ever since. (Think that’s an overstatement? Google “List of United States Wars”, or something similar.) Or we could look at it from a more contemporary point of view-I turned 33 on Monday. We have been at war for over 20 of those 33 years. Well over half of my life, America has been at war.
So I am torn. Torn between my appreciation for our country, and my love for peace.
But then a greater Truth occurs to me. I have an identity that is far more fundamental for who I am than the identification of “American”. That identity is not founded on war. That identity is founded on “Love God” and “Love your neighbor”. That identity is founded on “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “the meek shall inherit the earth”. That identity is founded on “Love your enemy and bless those who persecute you”. That identity is founded on the sacrificial love found in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
See, far more fundamental than being an American, I am a part of the Body of Christ, and that is an allegiance that I can cheer for without reservation.