Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36, NIV 1984).
“A Republic, if you can keep it.” Quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation on the U.S. Constitution.
He likely never thought we would keep it this long, nor is it likely any of his contemporaries did either. And with history as our guide, we will not keep it forever. But if you are a patriot like me, you hoped it would never happen in your lifetime. And it still may not. Despite witnessing recent events in the Capitol that I never thought I would ever see in my country (by my own countrymen and women), it still may not. We may still keep our republic for our lifetime and many generations to come.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
But whether or not we lose it anytime soon, and whatever country takes its place at center stage of our fallen world after us, earthly kingdoms are fragile things, destined rise and eventually fall. That’s why we must hold the treasures of this world lightly, even the country that we have come to love and treasure so much. Like earthly treasures that “moth and rust destroy,” there’s tarnish on our Liberty Bell. Tarnish that did not happen overnight. It’s been growing for a long time now. Recent events just shined a spotlight on how far things have progressed. We may not get the shine back any time soon. But the Republic we have, the Republic so many have given their lives to defend, is worth it. But as Abraham Lincoln said (paraphrasing Jesus Christ) — “a house divided against itself will fall.”
As we work together (and we must work together) to remove the tarnish and restore the shine, let’s not lose sight of the prize that is calling us Heavenward. Make sure we are citizens of the Kingdom that will never fall. Our work for that Kingdom can only help this kingdom.