Todays Advent thought has got me thinking about nation, particularly the difference between nation and country. The thought starts with Bodenheim reflecting on the tower of Babel, which I find particularly interesting today as only a fe days ago Beth was talking about the Jezreels which is being discussed in her A level RE.
The Jezreels were a sect of the late 1800’s / early 1900’s who were just down the road from where we live. They tried to build a tower to be seen and noticed and shelter them in the end times. It’s a bit of interesting local church history.
Why build a tower? In the Babel story it was out of fear of being scattered around the world. They did not really trust God and sought their security through fame. In the local Jezreel setting I think again they did not trust God’s word, the word that says by grace we are saved …. and instead chose to build a tower out of fire retardant materials to protect them at Armageddon.
When people lose sight of the God story; that story that tells of a God who chose to become vulnerable and take on flesh by becoming the child of an unknown couple of teenagers who lived in the chav part of Israel so that we could experience God’s love for real and become fully who we are created to be, fully secure with God …. when people lose sight of that story they do alternative, and sometimes crazy, things to make them feel secure.
The difference between a nation and a country according to the dictionary is a country is defined by geography whereas a nation is defined by its political and social characteristics. A nation is defined not by geography but by belief.
We are preparing at Advent for the coming of the Christ child, for God who came so that we may exist together as one nation. So, I think Advent presents us with another choice, a twin of the choice earlier in how we use God’s word. A choice of trusting in God or trusting in our own made up systems.
Sadly it is a lot easier for us all to build our own towers of protection if we take on a seige mentality and think the world, and maybe even God, is against us. But … if God’s word is true, if grace really is enough, if God is still talking and involved today … well then maybe we can step out of those towers and work out together how we can become one nation across God’s world.